WASHINGTON, W.Va. - Attendance at area gun shows and what people are looking for has not changed since the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., say local gun show participants.
Cheryl Hagerman, co-owner of On Target Shows LLC and the On Target store in Washington, W.Va., said the shows locally have not been affected by the events in Newtown. On Saturday they were operating a gun show as a fundraiser for the Lubeck Volunteer Fire Department at the department's fire station on Harris Highway. The show concludes today.
Hagerman said there have been no changes requested by those who run the shows or those who exhibit. Nothing was different from shows they had over the past several years at the fire station, she said.
"We're busier but shows in January are that way," she said. "People are looking to get out of the house and do something."
One vendor, who declined to give his name, said he did not notice any difference in shows since the Newtown shootings or in what customers were seeking.
"It was a tragic thing, but gun show attendance is up a little," he said. "It has affected what people buy marginally."
He said local shows feature firearms for hunting and not assault weapons.
"You don't see that here like you may in some areas," he said. "It's more hunters and collectors. There maybe some buying a pistol for home protection, but not many."
The vendor echoed Hagerman's statement that many at Saturday's show were there to pass the time and to get out despite the cold weather.
Gene Hoschar, a vendor at the show from Parkersburg, said Newtown has not affected gun show attendance.
"In this area, not at this show, there are lines outside waiting to get in, long lines," he said. "At Marietta and Arnoldsburg, there were people waiting for I don't know how long."