More and more, gun shows that most people think are merely hobbyist events for collectors to get together to trade items much like model train collectors do are becoming a recruiting grounds for political extremists to recruit new members or circulate petitions for extremist causes.
In Portland, Oregon the monthly gun shows at the large Expo Center that take place have become a recruiting grounds for extremists targeting immigrants or even recruiting for White Supremacist organizations. In addition, there is evidence that off-the-books, illegal gun sales often take place in the parking lot that sometimes involves illegal weapons of very lethal power being sold.
All of this calls into question whether political groups should be banned from such events and tighter parking lot security to prevent illegal weapons sales isn't really needed.
While gun shows have long been able to gain public acceptance by most believing that only peaceful hobbyists or collectors attend such events, a large part of the appeal of these shows was to an audience who sought to avoid background checks or gun licensing rules before many states sought to crackdown on this.
But a mentality that often was very suspicious towards the government continues to use these gun shows to promote extreme political opinions. Sometimes this could be especially paranoid and siege-mentality minded in nature. One organization, the Militia Of Montana had a massive display of books at the Expo Center recently that including titles like , "Weapons and Explosives Improvisation", "How To Hide Things In Public Places" and books on guerrilla warfare tactics or how to make poisons. Another table was entirely comprised of Nazi items and pictures of Adolf Hitler for sale.
The John Birch Society also had a display for their extreme politics as well. For some reason it is entirely legal to inform would-be domestic terrorists how to build bombs or other illegal weapons that could kill many innocent persons through books or other instructional materials, yet the federal government prosecutors only will only target some materials of a sexual nature at random that it considers to be obscenity. Anyone sympathetic to Al Qaeda or a similar mindset would be able to find more than enough books or information at a gun show to purchase common hardware and drugstore items and build dangerous bombs. This is a serious issue.
The fact of the matter is that many extreme political organizations use gun shows not to sell guns but to indoctrinate new members with their extremist views. And it could be a lethal combination to indoctrinate some into hate or extremism and offer them all the information they need on how to build bombs or other serious weapons.
Organizers of these gun show events need to set down some rules on what is acceptable to sell or display at these shows or not. And since government often reaps the financial rewards from renting out the space for these shows, they should take a serious look at who is renting space at these events.
On the Website of the Militia Of Montana, they claim that they do not advocate breaking any laws and the items they sell are for information purposes alone. That may be indeed correct. But is that enough to stop the next Timothy McVeigh from using this explosives knowledge to cause great harm? Will it stop someone who supports the goals of Al Qaeda? Could this be an accident just waiting to happen? Some things don't make any sense at all.
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