Amidst gun debate, local gun show draws hundreds

Guns, ammunition, stun-guns and more guns.

Whatever gun enthusiasts want, they can find it at the Central Iowa Fairgrounds through Sunday.

Marv Kraus Promotions, out of Strawberry Point, is putting on a gun show at the fairgrounds consisting of dozens of vendors from all over the state that sell just about any weapon you can buy legally.

“Various gun shops come in and sell guns, ammo and accessories, and you can buy, sell or trade at the show,” Kraus said.

Kraus said that since the nationwide debate over gun control began, he’s held 11 shows across the state and attendance has gone up by nearly 30 percent. Hundreds of people filled the event center at the fairgrounds just one hour into Friday night’s show.

“People are scared,” Kraus said. “I think things are fine the way they are. I believe in the Second Amendment.”

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in December, the Obama Administration has introduced its plan to curb gun violence. The president is currently pushing for reforms such as universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons and a mental health care overhaul.

While the country remains divided on the issue, Perry Keller, owner of J-Ville Sporting Goods in Harlan, said that his business has seen the impact of the debate and can’t keep supplies like ammunition on the shelves.

“Business has been really good,” Keller said. “As soon as we get something in, we usually sell it right away.”

Keller said he is indifferent about the gun control debate and said he already complies with the universal background checks being a licensed dealer.

“If you’re licensed, you have to do background checks,” Keller said.

Kraus said that he has seen a lot of new faces in the past few months at his shows and a big increase in female customers concerned about safety.

Vicki Larson and her husband Dave traveled from Cedar Falls to the show in search for a handgun for Vicki, who spends a lot of time traveling and away from home by herself.

“I just got my concealed carry permit,” she said. “We mostly do target practice, but I’m alone a lot and want something for protection.”

Kraus is also offering conceal in carry classes on Saturday and Sunday for those who would like to learn more about carrying a weapon.

The show continues from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the event is $6 per person.