As the nation is roiled by debates over gun control inspired by the Parkland massacre, a Florida gun show held over the weekend had “lines out the door” and “strong sales,” according to a New York Times report.
Thousands showed up for a show at the state fairgrounds in Tampa, where they bought guns, ammunition and t-shirts bearing pro-gun slogans. There were Girl Scouts selling cookies outside the show.
According to the Times, some sellers said they did double their normal sales figures.
“It’s sad to say, but whenever there’s a shooting, business only goes up because people are afraid of losing their right to own a certain weapon,” said salesman Quaidman Woody. “So even if they don’t need another AR, they’ll buy another AR or pieces of it.”
AR-15s were being sold at the show by people including Robert Ellie, who custom-makes the weapons at his shop in Fort Myers. Ellie said he uses the semi-automatic war rifle to hunt “wild boars.”
“We’ve had the Second Amendment for more than 200 years, but mass shootings are only a recent phenomenon,” he told the Tampa Bay Times.
Ironically, the show itself had strict gun control measures. There was two-gun limit for anyone wanting to bring their firearm into the show. Any guns carried in had to have their triggers zip-tied. And it was a no-carry zone, even for licensed concealed carry permit holders who were forced to disarm, leaving their ammunition at home or in their cars.
“MAKE SURE YOUR GUNS ARE UNLOADED AND THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY LOOSE AMMUNITION WITH YOU,” the site says. “Safety is our number one priority and can only be maintained if there are NO loaded guns in the show.”