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Thousands attend Crossroads of the West Gun Show in Ontario

Thousands of people attended the Crossroads of the West Gun Show in Ontario on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013.

January 5, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The debate over gun control did not keep massive crowds away from the Crossroads of the West Gun Show in Ontario on Saturday.

Thousands of people packed the floor of the Ontario Convention Center looking to buy guns, ammunition and accessories. Some gun owners arrived five hours before the doors opened.

Bob Templeton, owner of the gun show, said attendance was roughly double what it has been in previous years.

"The fire marshal did have to close the building for a time this morning because it got so busy inside," he said.

Many gun owners said they were concerned about losing their 2nd Amendment rights because of the December shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 26 people dead. President Barack Obama has urged Congress to vote on measures that would ban the sale of military style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as require criminal background checks for all buyers.

"They can ban all they want to ban, but it's not going to stop these idiots from doing what they've done," said Hesperia resident Richard Haston, who was at the gun show to buy ammo.

The rules for buying weapons at gun shows are generally less strict than buying from a licensed dealer. Military style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines were not sold at the gun show. That's against California state law. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence calls California's laws some of the toughest in the nation and sand says they should serve as a model for federal gun control legislation.

The American divide over gun control became clearer in other parts of the country this weekend. Just three weeks after the Newtown tragedy, several gun shows in the Connecticut area were canceled. However, a gun show in Stamford, about 40 miles from Newtown, went ahead as scheduled.