With supply low and demand high, gun owners flocked to the Ontario Convention Center this weekend to stock up on ammunition at the state’s first gun show since a mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school reignited the dormant gun control debate and increased sensitivity across the nation to firearms.
Some 6,000 people had filled the center by Saturday afternoon, and more than double that figure is expected to attend the event, which is open to the public and ends Sunday. The massive turnout is something even the Crossroads of the West Gun Show promoter didn’t expect.
"Nationally manufacturers can't keep up demand for firearms or ammunition," said Bob Templeton, with Crossroads of the West Gun Shows. "There's no ammunition at stores, I'm understanding, anyway."
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Hundreds of gun enthusiasts wrapped around the convention center to enter the gun show and inside the packed convention center, 720 tables display firearms, not including assault weapons similar to those used in the Newtown, Conn., massacre.
The ammunition tables became so congested on Saturday that promoters had to reroute the crowd.
Gregg Imus waited in line for two and a half hours to buy ammo, the hottest commodity at the show. He speculated that’s due to rumblings in Washington, D.C.
"It's politicians scaring people into thinking they are going to take away our rifles, our ammunition so the people are just nervous that this ammunition we’re burying won't be available in near future and it’s our right," Imus said.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein said legislation would be introduced this session to limit sale, transfer and possession of assault weapons. That had the gun show crowd fired up.
"Some politicians are using these tragic acts to generate enthusiasm for restrictive gun measures," Templeton said.
Attendees cite gun laws in California, among the strictest in the nation, and Saturday’s overwhelming response as a message that owners are not backing down from their right to responsibly bear arms.
"We have that right to do that I'm excited to see thousands and thousands here," Imus said.