Indiana gun show draws hundreds - New York News

Indiana gun show draws hundreds

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CROWN POINT, Ind. (Associated Press) -

Hundreds of gun enthusiasts flocked over the weekend to a Lake County gun show criticized by area law enforcement leaders after a study showed nearly 20 percent of the guns recovered by Chicago police over the last five years came from Indiana.

Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub said the county will honor its 2013 contract with Central Indiana Gunshows, which promised safe, family-friendly events. The county collects about $1,500 in rent per show, and five more are scheduled this year.

"We have the county police there to watch it and not once in 16 years did a county policeman tell me we had a problem with these shows, so I don't have a problem with them," Scheub told The Times of Munster for a story Sunday.

The show was the first in Lake County since Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart in Chicago called a summit of Illinois and Indiana police and prosecutors last month to discuss strategies to stem the export of Indiana guns. Dart's summit came as Chicago seeks to stem gun violence. The city had more than 500 homicides last year, many of them shooting deaths.

Chicago has a strict gun ordinance that requires gun owners to be fingerprinted, undergo a background check, pass a training class and pay fees that can be higher than the price of the weapons. A University of Chicago Crime Lab study had found nearly 20 percent of the guns confiscated by Chicago police from 2008 to 2012 were purchased in Indiana. Last year, Chicago police seized more than 7,400 guns -- about three times more than officers in New York.

Lake County Sheriff John Buncich, a participant at the summit with Dart, asked the Board of Commissioners to rein in private gun sales at the gun shows, but the commissioners refused.

More than a thousand gun enthusiasts attended the show Saturday at the Lake County Fairgrounds Industrial Arts Building, looking over more than 100 tables displaying handguns, rifles, shotguns, assault weapons, knives and other weapons. On one table sat a sign saying, "Cash for legal machine guns."

Dan Hedger of Central Indiana Gunshows said news coverage of the gun show dispute appeared to have boosted Saturday's crowd.

Loaded weapons were not permitted inside the show, which continued Sunday.

A number of tables displayed Federal Firearms Licenses or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Over-the-Counter Firearms Transaction forms that buyers must complete. Signs around the building warned, "The sale of firearms to Illinois residents without being properly transferred to an Illinois firearms dealer is strictly prohibited by law."

Hedger said he cannot stop transactions among gun show customers.

"It's legal. They could do it out in the parking lot or at yard sales. At least this is a controlled environment," Hedger said.

Most people in the crowd were white men over the age of 30. Some fathers had children with them.

"It's a guy's day out," said Rodger Blythe, owner of Blythe Sports Shop of Griffith.

Corinth Bishop, a veteran defense lawyer and former gun show participant, described the show's typical customers.

"Most of the people at these shows are collectors looking around for something in particular or others who've seen something at Gander Mountain or Cabela's and then they come to the show to dicker with someone at the show for a better price," Bishop said.

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