MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – This weekend is the last time you’ll be able to buy a gun or rifle at the Agricenter. It shot down the thought of any new shows at the facility.
The gun show is a near 30-year tradition here in the Memphis area. The Agricenter’s president decided to discontinue its contract with R.K. shows several months ago. They held 6 to 7 shows there annually.
“I was very disappointed to hear that. This is one of my best shows that we do in Tennessee,” said gun vendor Frank Adcock. “This happened to us in Nashville.”
Nashville and Knoxville voted to stop guns shows in an attempt to curb gun violence. The Agricenter’s ban is self-imposed. Shelby County commissioners are considering a proposal banning them at public Shelby County facilities.
Frank Adcock traveled to Memphis by way of Nashville for gun shows. The bans are making it hard to conduct business.
“A lot of us haven’t recovered from losing that money, that venue. It’s caused us to have to go travel more,” Adcock said.
Tami Sawyer – who sponsored the resolution – cited accidental youth gun deaths and high homicide rates. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, of prisoners who possessed a firearm, less than 1% got it from a gun show.
“Gun vendors I spoke to today say before there’s a purchase or sale of a gun, a background check has to happen.”
“If somebody comes to me, I do buy guns from people as well, I run it through the same system in the TBI to check if it’s stolen or not,” said Adcock.
“I’ll have to find something to replace this show for sure, and I’m from Nashville so it means probably going out of state,” said Adcock.
That is what R.K. shows is doing, the next Mid-South Gun and Knife show will in be February at the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi.
“The state of Tennessee is one of the most pro-gun states in the United States,” said Rex Kehrli, president of R.K. Shows. “So we think it’s time for the citizenry of Tennessee to take their state back here.”
Kehrli believes the proposed ban doesn’t speak for the state of Tennessee.
“We think that is a huge attack on the rights of all the citizens of Shelby County,” said Kehrli. “Our freedom, I believe. If all of a sudden they decide they don’t like gun shows and they want to ban gun shows, what will be next?”