Gun show triggers controversy

Dozens of protesters — some with clashing messages — flocked to the Glendale Gun Show Saturday, both to protest and support what was likely the last, and as it turns out, largest, gun show at the Civic Auditorium.

With the Glendale City Council slated to vote on an ordinance banning gun shows from city property in coming weeks, dozens of gun show advocates turned up clutching blow horns, banners and American flags to denounce the impending law.

PHOTOS: Glendale Gun Show attracts large crowds

“My rights come from God, not government,” said North Hollywood resident Debbie Hernandez.

Next to her, 5-year-old Adrian Lopez clutched a sign that read, “Will we have a Constitution by the time I turn 18?”

The local gun show — which operators expected would draw 4,000 people — has been a hot-button topic in recent months, especially as the national gun control debate took off following the school shooting at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., which claimed the lives of 26 people.

But show advocates didn't think stricter laws would curb violence.

“People seem to think disarming good people will disarm bad people,” said Temple City resident James Hake, clutching a sign supporting the 2nd Amendment. “That's a mistake.”

Representatives of Occupy Democracy – Pasadena, a local group with ties to the national movement, showed up for a different reason: to call for stricter gun laws and a ban on gun sales on public property.

“I don't think police should be outgunned by a civilian,” said Judy McAdoo, adding that high-capacity magazines and assault rifles should be banned. “There's no use for those in a civilized society.”

Others felt that by allowing the event on city-owned property, Glendale was “endorsing” gun sales.

But just a third of the booths at the gun show were selling firearms, said Chuck Michel, a legal consultant for the gun show. Vendors also stocked gun accessories, backpacks, Hello Kitty lunch boxes and beef jerky, he said. 

Last year, Glendale pocketed roughly $54,000 in parking and rental revenue from the three gun shows.

As a taxpayer, “I'm funding this,” protester Maddie Gavel-Briggs told show-goer Vardan Ambartsumyan. “Why don't you join the military if you want to play with guns?”

Ambartsumyan responded, “It's about personal protection.” If you completely ban assault weapons, “only criminals will have it,” he said.

Among the protesters, hundreds formed a line wrapping around the auditorium, waiting to get in, while others trickled out clasping cases of ammunition, gun bags and other accessories.

“People are just panic-buying,” said Brandon Lopez, who purchased 1,000 rounds of ammunition because of a shortage at regular gun stores. “It's hard to come by.” 

But Michel said the droves of people flocking to Glendale for the show was good for the city's economy.

“The laws being proposed are not going to save any lives,” he said.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News

Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek

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