Gun show organizers say sales remain steady

Image 1 of 3

At the Florida Gun Show in Tampa, attendees browsed the guns, knives, and Tasers but this time around, a few things have changed.

Now, you must be 21 to purchase a gun in Florida and in Hillsborough County, the waiting period on gun purchases is now five days, up from three. 

The show’s manager says it hasn’t hurt interest in firearms.

“Not really,” said Jorge Fernandez. “I mean, you know a lot of the persons who come here have concealed weapons licenses anyway, so It would make them exempt from the waiting period. We also have a lot of law enforcement that comes here; law enforcement is exempt from the waiting period too.” 

Though the FBI says gun sales have slumped in the past two years, Fernandez says he’s not seeing it. 

"Our numbers are in record attendance,” he said. “We don't see a slump at the door." 

One vendor says politics are to blame.

“You have to remember two years ago, that was going on around election time, when everyone was getting geared up for elections and it really all just depends what’s going on with politics,” said Mike Wilcox, the Gun Show Manager for vendor Shoot Straight.

Beyond firearms, gun enthusiasts could find scopes, gear, even concealment furniture at the show.

One accessory being sold isn’t one for adults, it’s for kids. It’s a plate that fits right into a child’s backpack and can defend against non-steel core bullets from an AR-15.

It was designed to help save lives in the event of a school shooting. One dad says in light of recent events, he’s purchasing one for his son. 

“This could save his life,” said Tom Vansickle. “If he's got the backpack on the front of him, if he swings it around, or if he has it on the back of him, it's going to sit right around [his chest]. So for the most part, it's going to protect a lot of his vital organs and the plate is going to cover a big part of him.” 

Though new laws are in place, he says more might need to be done.

"It’s not a gun problem, we’ve had guns in this country for years upon years. The problem is now the people, and if we need to have stronger background checks, all of us who are gun people are all for that," he said.

Gun buyers at this weekend's show will undergo a background check. Nearly every dealer is required by law to go through that process. 

“Whether you have a concealed weapon permit or not, whether you’re a law enforcement officer or not, military, active, retired, or a civilian, background checks are always mandatory when you are conducting business with a federally licensed dealer,” said Fernandez.