Protesters gathered outside the Dupage County Fairgrounds today during the Pioneer Valley Sportsman’s Association show.
Both sides of the gun control issue were represented and, for the most part, respected each other’s space throughout the demonstration.
Those in favor of stricter gun control laws said they were using the show as a stage to make their voice heard.
“I’m out here to protest for common sense gun control,” said Neil Specter. “I think right now, things are out of hand. I don’t see any reason for civilians to own military weapons such as AR-15s, AK-47s, any type of assault style weapon. I think it’s about time we stop the violence in this country, the carnage that these weapons cause.”
On the other side of the argument, many of the counter-protesters expressed frustration that they were being painted with a broad brush as gun-crazy fanatics.
“We’re here to support our second amendment rights,” said Matt Murray. “We’re here to show that we are peaceful, law-abiding citizens. We should not be looked at as criminals. We’re out here supporting our constitution showing that people shouldn’t be afraid of us. We’re just normal people.”
The sportsman’s show banned sale of AR-15 semi-automatic weapons and bump stocks at this show in response to the heated national conversation on gun control after the shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“We felt that it was important not to inflame the situation any further,” said PVSA President Mario Tolomei. “So we would not allow sale at the show at this time. We don’t know what the future is going to hold, what legislation is going to be passed.”
Tolomei said they had not made a decision about whether AR-15s or bump stocks would be available at April’s show.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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