On Saturday, national Gun Appreciation Day, a rally at the South Carolina State House drew a couple hundred people. But several thousand people showed up for a gun and knife show held at the Jamil Temple.
Hosted by the South Carolina Arms Collectors Association, an NRA-affiliated club, the two-day show drew in so many people it seemed to surprise dealers and veteran show goers alike.
Everybody knew it was going to be a big turnout, said Darrell Ward, 56, of Newberry. Still, Ward a hunter and gun collector who says he tries to hit all the shows said he was surprised when he got to the show at 7 a.m. to find a line had already formed and snaked more than a 100 yards across the parking lot to the edge of the woods next door.
The show, held on a National Gun Appreciation Day, a day designated by numerous pro-gun rights groups as a day to stand up in defense of gun rights, comes on the heels of President Barack Obamas package of proposals designed to tighten gun laws.
The 23 executive actions, which come in the wake of last months Newtown school massacre, include stricter background checks on all gun sales and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Many who attended both the show and the protest held at noon at the State House said the sharp increase in gun sales and attendance at such events were in direct response to the Presidents proposals.
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