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Officials to discuss banning gun shows

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Some city and county leaders are reacting to the Connecticut school shooting by taking aim at gun shows. Travis County Commissioners may even ban the shows on county-owned property.

Across the country, officials are proposing or enforcing bans on gun shows in response to the Connecticut school shooting.

The issue came up last month at the Travis County Commissioner's meeting.

According to Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe, a county resident asked commissioners to end leasing county owned property for gun shows. His plea was followed by 200 emails to the judge. Biscoe could not ignore the discussion and placed the topic on the Tuesday meeting agenda.

"I think the objection comes because of the feeling we may have too many guns available and guns are too easy to acquire."

A few blocks away at Austin City Hall--council member Mike Martinez is drafting his own resolution to place restrictions on gun shows.

Martinez did not return phone calls from FOX 7. According to his office staff the final draft of his proposed resolution will be ready Wednesday just in time to get on the agenda for next week.

Gun advocates are now firing back including Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

"This will not make us safer and it will probably cost the city a great deal of money," Patterson said.

Patterson says the City of Houston passed a gun show ordinance in the 90s and it ended up costing the city $400,000 in a lawsuit.

He voiced his concerns to Martinez.

"I think he thinks he's doing something really positive, but I don't think he is. Good intentions are not good enough for me," Patterson said.

One group it would impact is premier gun shows. Their next event is set for February 9 at the North Austin Event Center on North Lamar.

"Those laws don't work. The bad guys still get guns because they don't follow the laws," said Tim Finucane of Premier Gun Shows.

Tim Finucane says background checks are performed as required by federal law, and law enforcement officers are brought in to work security.

"All the promoters take this very seriously to make sure that there's nothing that happens at their gun shows as far as gun sales that couldn't happen at a retail parking lot or any place else," Finucane said.

Those who would like to see more restrictions on gun sales say the concern is that only registered dealers are required to do the background checks. Private sellers are not.

In 2010 Austin police and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms reported finding illegal immigrants and convicted felons were able to buy guns at the shows.

"We can't do anything about the black market and guns, but we can insure that our city and county property background checks are conducted and so we can contract with people who insist they run that kind of show," said Frances Schenkkan board member of States United to Prevent Gun Violence.

The commissioners will only talk about the issue Tuesday. They will likely vote next week.

According to Mayor Lee Leffingwell's office Martinez asked him to co-sponsor the resolution. Leffingwell is waiting to see what APD Chief Art Acevedo thinks about it. Acevedo told FOX 7 his thoughts on Monday.

"I don't think it's an all or nothing proposition. Anything that we do to make it more difficult. People will say it will never be perfect. Absolutely there will never be a 100 percent guarantee. That's doesn't mean we shouldn't make it more difficult that doesn't mean we should make it as difficult as possible for people who are not of sound mind to keep firearms out of their hands. For anyone who thinks otherwise, I don't think they're being honest," Acevedo said.

Mike McAnally, President of the Central Texas Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence released the following statement:

"The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence applauds Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt and Council members Mike Martinez and others for taking a common sense proactive measure to help reduce gun violence in our communities. We urge passage of such measures as soon as possible. This is a public safety issue, not a 2nd Amendment issue.

We already know that at least 40 percent of all gun sales at gun show venues are conducted without a Federal Background check. We also know that background checks do work; they help to ensure that prohibited individuals, such as felons, those under domestic violence protective orders, minors, and those adjudicated mentally incompetent, do not have easy access to firearms."


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