Buyers, sellers at Oklahoma City gun show are wary of gun reform proposals
Background checks, weapons bans will do little to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, said gun dealers at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City on Saturday. Both are among the list of reforms proposed by President Barack Obama last week in response to last month's school shooting in Connecticut.
Shotgun lying across his lap, two pistols and ammo stacked in boxes next to him, Mark Close soaked up some rare January sun Saturday at State Fair Park before heading home from a weekend gun show.
Videoview all videos
Photoview all 23 photos
NewsOK Related Articles
He traded in his old semi-automatic carbine for the pistols and paid $1,200 for the shotgun, but Close never told anyone at the show his name, he never showed his identification card, and he likes it that way.
“It starts out with registration and then when they know what you got they come in and start taking your guns,” he said. “And then when they take your guns, they start taking away your freedom.”
Unregulated gun transactions, including no background check and no formal paperwork, would come to an end under new gun reforms proposed by President Barack Obama last week.
While politicians in Washington debate ways to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally unsound, gun owners in Oklahoma City flocked to the park to buy and swap weapons at the two-day show.
Close, who bought the shotgun from a dealer on the lawn of the exhibit center, said he collects weapons for fun but also for self-defense.
He said relaxed gun laws like those in Oklahoma don't contribute to increased violence but instead secure the peace. He has never had to use his weapons for self-defense.
“And I hope I never have to,” he said. “But I want the option there if somebody tried to jack my family or if the power goes off for several weeks. You try to pull something in Oklahoma you got a pretty good chance to get shot.”
Obama's gun proposals would change little about the operations at shows like this one, put on by Metcalf Gun Shows of Owasso.
Most transactions here could continue under the proposals, which were developed in response to a school shooting in Connecticut that killed 20 children and six adults in December.
But the military-style, semi-automatic pistols and rifles displayed on many of the tables inside would be banned under the reform proposal, as would the practice of paperwork-free transactions.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence reports 40 percent of gun sales in the United States are conducted at gun shows like this and by private sellers over the Internet or in classified ads.
At nondescript tables without business signs or business cards, private sellers at Saturday's Metcalf show displayed AR-15s, AK-47s and other weapons that would fall under the proposed ban.
Each of the private sellers defended the practice for different reasons, but none would identify themselves to The Oklahoman for this story.
“These guns look a certain way, but they all are used for the same thing,” said one man who stood behind a table on the north side of the showroom.
Displayed before him was an AK-47 ($1,250), a Ruger Mini-14 GB ($1,800) and a Colt R6000 ($2,100).
News Photo Galleriesview all
- 101218Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 15357OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant tours Moore, meets with residents
- 13402Oklahoma tornadoes: ‘All I could do was sit there and hold her'
- 8724Line of storms brings flash floods to Oklahoma City area
- 8110How to help tornado victims
- 8098Oklahoma tornadoes: Love for Oklahoma generates big donation
- 8041Oklahoma tornadoes: Rams quarterback Sam Bradford leading aid effort