The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Gun buyers looking for ‘fighting chance’
BY LINDLEY ESTES
Darrell, James and Aaron Garber left the Southeastern Gun and Knife show Saturday with ammunition and blaze orange stickers on their coats saying “Guns SAVE Lives.”
The family members from Blackstone weren’t able to purchase the pistol and rifle James was hoping for because of the large crowd inside the Meadow Event Park in Caroline County.
“It’s a zoo in there,” said Darrell Garber.
Some vendors had to halt sales because of the large number of customers and background checks that needed to be performed. Others were sold out of some products.
Inside, the vendors promoted weaponry as the best way to save lives, telling people that now is the time to purchase guns, especially rifles.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League, which describes itself as a grass-roots activist group, gave out the orange stickers and asked for signatures on a petition for pro-gun legislation.
According to the brochure the group handed out at the show, “The time isn’t going to magically become right to introduce pro-gun legislation. Instead WE have to make the time right. And we do that by constantly pushing a pro-gun agenda.”
One vendor, Coastal Gun Works of Virginia Beach, displayed a Bushmaster assault rifle like the one a gunman used at a Newtown Conn., school to kill 20 children and six adults.
“People are wanting to get things before they are banned,” said Darrell Garber.
All three Garbers said they favor having armed officers in schools, which was what the NRA proposed Friday as a solution to school shootings.
“A firearm is an inanimate piece of machinery with no evil intent,” said Darrell Garber. “It can only be misused by people.”
He is an NRA instructor and has been teaching people how to shoot for three years. A firearm’s best use, he said, “is against someone crazy with a gun.”
A man who asked to be identified only as David from Urbanna said prices at the show are much higher than they were a few months ago.
“The next day after the shooting [in Connecticut] gun prices went through the roof,” he said.
He and a friend left with exploding targets, which blow up when struck.
Steve Daniels of Suffolk said he came to the gun show because he couldn’t find guns anywhere else.
“I want to be as well-armed as the criminal,” he said. “I want to have a fighting chance.”
Daniels said that, as a veteran, he thinks having trained law enforcement officers at school sites would be a deterrent to a shooting like the one that occurred in Newtown.
Jason Guida of Charlottesville visited the show with his daughter, looking for ammunition.
“A lot was sold out because of the panic about legislation,” he said.
Brian Carr of Waverly said he thinks the media demonizes the NRA.
“They’re making the NRA look bad,” he said. “I’m glad they’re in existence.”
Carr looked for laser sights rather than guns at the show.
“I’m content with my arsenal,” he said.
Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976