Gun-control issues swell crowd at Fresno show

The Fresno BeeJanuary 26, 2013 

Talk by politicians about tighter gun control laws and bans on assault weapons had hobbyists flocking to a gun show Saturday at the Fresno Fairgrounds to buy firearms and ammunition, which they said are becoming more expensive and scarce.

"Supply and demand," said Brent Lysdahl, 25, of Clovis. "Even online, you can't buy ammunition."

People entering and leaving the Central Coast Gun Show said recent gun control proposals have caused a sharp spike in firearm and ammunition prices.

Bret Barton, 52, of Squaw Valley said the prices of assault weapons have risen nearly 70% since the fatal shooting of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month.

"There is a fear of not being able to buy guns," he said.

One-hundred rounds of ammunition three or four months ago was going for about $34, said Anthony Morfin, 53, of Visalia.

"Now that same 100 rounds will cost $64," he said.

People said they waited two to three hours to buy ammunition Saturday.

Gun show attendance was three times larger this year compared to last year, organizers said.

Morfin said a line formed from the Chance Avenue entrance south to Butler Avenue and turned east along Butler when he arrived less than an hour before the gate opened at 9 a.m.

Attendees said it took about 45 minutes to an hour to enter the gun show in the Commerce Building once the gate opened.

Vin Tran, 24, of Fresno stood in line for 21/2 hours Saturday to buy ammunition for his AR-15 rifle. The proposed bans on assault weapons is creating a buying frenzy for firearms and ammunition, he said.

However, he expects that will change as the issue ceases to be a political hot topic.

"Within a couple of months," Tran said, "it should be back to normal."

Morfin said he and his family use assault weapons at shooting ranges.

"We've never shot animals or even cans," he said. "We're just recreational shooters."

His son, Anthony Jr., 32, said he and other gun hobbyists are "law-abiding citizens but we're being treated unfairly."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6386 or ejimenez@fresnobee.com.

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