Visalia gun show sees effects of supply and demand

March 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
After several years, Visalia held a gun show Saturday, where organizers say the demand for sales had been increasing daily.

With all the talk of gun control at the state and federal levels gun supporters are out picking up what they can for fear of future restriction. Even as the gun show trucked in extra ammunition to sell shoppers were already seeing an issue with supply and demand.

Thousands of people made their way through the maze of weaponry at the 2-day "Rocky Mountain Gun Show" in Visalia. The first show, organizers said, within in 15 years. Promoter Mitch Mckinlay says the shows his company hosts across the west coast have been packed ever since the mass shooting in December at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.

That deadly incident shoved gun control to the top of many legislative agendas and prompted a sharp increase in firearm sales.

Mckinlay said, "They can't find it in the local stores, so they're following the gun shows, coming here to find their stuff."

Lines for ammunition wound through the convention center floor. Many say they're only able to find ammunition at these shows since traditional and online retailers can't keep it in stock.

Steve Cano of Hanford said, "It's a fundamental change in the gun market in the U.S. and I think you're seeing a different mentality."

Cano says the dealers he thought would have the guns he wants just don't have much for sale.

"I already have a lot of the types of guns that I want to have. But we're still looking and I can't believe that it's becoming so difficult to find those guns here," Cano said.

While many are checking out what is in stock, Valley retailers say it's difficult to keep up with the demand.

Tulare gun dealer Ron Koetsier says the tables for his shop, TK Firearms, was packed all morning.

Koetsier said, "This is pretty awesome we have this many people interested in supporting our second amendment rights, that's what it's all about."

These shows are busy all around the country including New York, where background checks will be required for gun purchases just like they are in California.

The Rocky Mountain Gun Show continues in Visalia Sunday and next weekend in Fresno.

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