Crowds flock to gun show amid heated debates

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's the biggest gun show in Myrtle Beach, surrounded by even bigger controversy as the debate over gun control continues to heat up.

The C&E Gun and Knife Show rolled into town this weekend, setting up shop in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday

Coordinators say the show was a hit, with numbers up about 15 percent over previous years.

It is a record number, promoters say, topping even their expectations for the weekend. As thousands packed the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for this weekend's gun show. While many of you have differing opinions on gun control, many people at the show had different reasons for being there.

One attendee said, "I came with my friend to check em out. I like admiring guns and checking them out," while another commented, "I just want to make sure I have everything before the laws get passed through on what you can purchase and what you can have."

The Gun and Knife Show usually brings in around 5,000 to 6,000 people throughout the entire weekend.

"It was very busy, as expected. Long lines, but everyone was able to get in," said Thomas Tracy with the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

And promoters say with this show, they almost hit that number on the first day alone.

"On Saturday people come in to get ammo and the best deals on ammo and guns and then they'll leave," says event promoter Mike Kent.

People were wrapped around the lobby waiting to get into the show Saturday. Coordinators for the show say they aren't used to such a large number and think national events have more gun owners heading to the show.

"This is a little abnormal. Two things, first the shooting in Connecticut has sparked gun sales across the country and then the congressional hearings on the assault rifle ban has a some people nervous right now," Mike Kent explains.

Part of those hearings that Kent is talking about would limit how much ammunition a magazine, or clip, could hold at one time. As President Obama is supporting as updated weapons ban that expired in 2004, many gun owners are scrambling to get their hands on that ammo.

Mike Kent says, "Ammo is in short supply right now so a lot of people came to the show to get ammo before it gets out of sight."

And its not just how many people are showing up for the weekend show that is unusual, but how much money they are spending. And because of the record breaking crowds, the convention center put a control plan in place for the first time.

"We took precautions and involved the Myrtle Beach Police Department. They were on site, making their rounds making sure we had no problems, which we did not." Thomas Tracy comments.

The event team says even with the long lines, everyone was patient getting into the Gun and Knife Show.

It will be returning in the fall but coordinators don't expect that show to draw in so many people, saying by then they think things will be back to normal.

So what do you think? Log on to the WMBF News Facebook Fan page and let us know how you feel about the gun control and weapons bans debate.

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