Gun debate leads thousands to Dalton gun show - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Gun debate leads thousands to Dalton gun show

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DALTON, GA (WRCB) - As the Obama Administration talks gun reform, thousands of people packed a gun show in Dalton Saturday, waiting hours in line just to get in.

The debate over gun control has intensified in the weeks since the school shooting in Connecticut. Regulars of the Eastman Gun Show in Dalton say Saturday's turnout far surpasses previous years. Why? Pretty much every one we talked to says it comes down to fear over what's to come out of Washington. Vice President Joe Biden will unveil his gun safety recommendations this week.

"We waited an hour and a half to get in," Athens, TN resident Oneil Gray said.

"I expected a line but I never expected anything like this and we were here at what 8:30," Cumming, GA resident Tony Gulla said.

It was a continuous line outside the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center in Dalton Saturday to get in the Eastman Gun Show. Organizers wouldn't allow media inside.

"Shoulder to shoulder," Gray said.

It's a sight frequent gun show attendee Tony Gulla has gotten used in the weeks since the Connecticut school shooting.  "Since then any of these gun shows that have been out there have attracted crowds like you see behind me because they're afraid that their rights are going to be abridged and we feel the same way," Gulla said.

"The majority of Americans support banning the sale of military style assault weapons," President Obama said in a news conference last week.

Since hearing of the possibility of an assault weapon ban, that more than anything is what's been flying off shelves. "We have sold over 36 assault riffles in the last three days. We are completely out," Shooter's Depot owner John Martin said.

"If the supply goes down demand goes up," Gulla said.

One of the biggest demands is the AR-15, which was one of the guns used in the Sandy Hook shooting. "I bought me an AR-15 since this whole situation has been going on," Rocky Face, GA resident Rodney Dillard said.

People like Rodney Dillard are buying guns for the first time.  "Now with the thought that there could be a ban, I wanted to go ahead and get one," Dillard said.

Local salesmen warn the rush could lead to price gouging at some places. "Guns we bought for $250 three years ago are selling for $800 now," Gray said.

Not only are gun sales up since the Connecticut tragedy, but the NRA says it's gained 100,000 new members unsolicited.

The Eastman Gun Show continues Sunday in Dalton.

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