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Is a family event the best site for a gun show?

The first thing I do every morning is check my email. Two Sundays ago, there a was a message from a trusted friend telling me there was going to be a gun show in Boulder City during the Spring Jamboree. And it was going to be held in both Parks and Recreation Department gyms.

I called my friend to check on her source. She read the information to me from the April issue of the Boulder City Magazine, pages 22 and 23.

I was heartsick.

We are finally having a national discussion, or as close as we’re ever going to get to a national discussion, on gun violence, and the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce decides to have a gun show come to town.

The organizer of the gun show may be a legitimate business, which the chamber wants to promote, as it does all businesses. But alongside with the family-friendly Spring Jamboree?

Perhaps the chamber should have thought this through a bit longer and harder. Perhaps there should have been more discussion with residents before choosing the city’s facilities for a gun show.

Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine, a legitimate business, has not, to my knowledge, ever requested a booth at the Spring Jamboree, or asked for the use of the city’s gyms. If Flynt were to ask for space at the Spring Jamboree, being the owner of a legitimate business, I guess it would be OK with the chamber and the city to have him come, if one uses the chamber’s rationale of promoting business.

But is it appropriate? Does it make good sense?

I’m not asking the chamber to join the gun violence debate or take a stand on this topic. I’m talking about common sense. I’m talking about what is appropriate at a family event.

According to an email I received from Jill Lagan, the chamber’s CEO, “Because this location (inside the gyms) will be a ‘pay-to-enter’ closed environment, it will not expose those that may feel strongly against weapons, to the booths themselves.”

So bring on what many consider pornography, put its purveyors in the gym, charge a fee and everything is just ducky.

Lagan went on in her email to say that some folks believe “it is a very dangerous thing to invite dogs into the park (for the Bark in the Park event) when so many children are around.”

Yes, some dogs can be dangerous and some dogs have killed children and adults. While the purpose of some dogs is personal defense, most folks don’t keep their pets locked up and away from the kids.

During the last two weeks, I spoke to a number of gun owners in Boulder City. I wanted to know what they think about a gun show at the Spring Jamboree.

Every person I spoke to thought a gun show in the gyms should not take place and was inappropriate. There are other places for a gun show: the shooting range near the landfill, the Pro Gun Club, the dry lake bed.

I don’t own a gun and never have. I don’t approve of gun shows, but I am agreeing with gun owners on this particular issue.

I may not want people to buy assault weapons, but since they are available at gun shows, I’m not telling the chamber to regulate this business, or stop the show. Have it in an appropriate place.

Parents and responsible gun owners say they keep their weapons away from their children. They say their guns are locked in safes or kept in places out of children’s reach. I have no reason to doubt these folks, but there are many instances in which kids get their hands on guns and tragedy happens.

I believe Lagan when she says there will be security at the gun show. I believe her when she says the volunteers and folks working the Spring Jamboree “are trained and prepared for many potential threats.”

I know Lagan can’t please all of the people all of the time, but I wish there had been more time spent on talking and thinking about the ramifications of a gun show in the city’s gyms.

Lagan and staff could have spent much less time thinking about safety and “more attention to detail” that the gun show now entails.

Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She can be reached at roseannrab@hotmail.com or at 347-9924.

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