One of North Carolina’s largest cities is talking about canceling one of the biggest annual gun and knife shows on the east coast in the wake of a national debate on gun violence.
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan says that after the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, she has started getting questions about what can be done at a local level, reported TV station WFMY.
As a result, the Greensboro City Council is considering canceling the Greensboro Gun and Knife Show, which is held at a city-owned coliseum, the station reported.
“There's not a lot that we can do. But we don't have to sponsor gun sales in a city-owned building,” Vaughan was quoted as saying.
A website for the show says it will next be staged Aug. 25-26. The show was established in 1970 and includes more than 800 tables of merchandise, according to the website.
Greensboro City Council member Tammi Thurm told Fox station WGHP she agrees with the idea, which comes about three weeks after 17 people were shot and killed at a high school in Parkland, Fla.
“We have to make a statement as a city,” Thurm said.
The issue is expected to be up for debate at the next City Council meeting, in about two weeks, media outlets report. TV station WXII reported Wednesday the entire City Council supports the idea, which the mayor clarified is not an attempt to thwart gun sales in the city.
“We are not saying to the rightful gun stores within our city that we want them to stop doing business as they are,” Vaughan told WXII. “But we are saying, as a city, we don’t have to do it in our coliseum.”
The gun rights group Grassroots North Carolina has said the plan is illegal according to North Carolina law, and it will oppose the measure. Among the things that make the cancellation illegal: The city is trying to regulate gun commerce more stringently than other types of commerce, the group says.
A statement from Grassroots President F. Paul Valone said that N.C. General Statute 14-409.40 provides that “no county or municipality, by ordinance, resolution, or other enactment, shall regulate in any manner the possession … storage, transfer, sale, purchase … transportation, or registration of firearms, firearms ammunition, [or] components of firearms …”