Gun Show comes to UAF Patty Center

Josh Hartman / Sun Star

The Tanana Valley Sportsmen’s Association hosted a gun show at the Patty Center on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10-11. This show was open on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. -4 p.m.

The gun show has been a reoccurring event at UAF for over 40 years according to Grant Lewis, President of Tanana Valley Sportsmen’s Association.  This event serves as a fundraiser for

Tim Parks, owner of Black Wasp Customs, stands behind a table with an inactive RPG-7 kit. He and his two friends pooled money to buy it. - Josh Hartman / Sun Star

Tim Parks, owner of Black Wasp Customs, stands behind a table with an inactive RPG-7 kit. He and his two friends pooled money to buy it. – Josh Hartman / Sun Star

the Tanana Valley Sportsmen’s Association. This money also helps to support UAF’s rifle team.

“I think it is a great opportunity for locals and state-wide individuals to look for and sell firearms,” said UAF Police Department (UAFPD) Officer Allen Keeler. “People who are not familiar with [firearms] can come take a look and learn gun safety, how to shoot and how to care for firearms.”

The gun show isn’t so much about making money as it is spending time with the community and spending time with the people according to Doug Albright, one of the vendors at the event.

“I know a lot of the people that come through here,” said Albright. “We just enjoy getting together.”

There were 145 tables set up inside the gym at the Patty Center. Many of the vendors had more than one table. Tables for for the event cost $50 for the exhibitors who signed up before the first of the year, while those who signed up later payed $10 more.

Attendees older than 12 had to pay five dollars to get into the event. The price was reduced to four dollars for active military.

The gun show was host to more than just guns. Exhibitors sold knives, sportswear, animal skins, ammunition, books, food and art.

Some of the organizations present were Alaska Ammo, the National Rifle Association, the Alaska Outdoor Council, Alaska Illusive Arms and the Golden Heart Shootist Society.

UAF requires vendors to comply with a number of rules In order to host the event on campus.  The Tanana Valley Sportmen’s Association must also sign a contract with UAF each year in order to get permission to hold the event.

Patrons may not carry any concealed or holstered firearms into the event. All guns must be unloaded and the exhibitors must have all ammunition in a sealed box or original container, according to Lewis.

Additionally, all of the weapons that came to the event were required to be checked by an authorized individual so that they would be accounted for, according to Keeler.

The UAFPD had a presence at the event along with Community Safety Officers and other UAF affiliates.

“I’m kind of torn about the event due to the shootings and violence in other cities,” Lisa Rogers-Peter, one of the exhibitors at the show, said. “I wish we could find a solution to gun violence in the United States. Every year it gets worse.”

The gun show started nine days after the Umpqua Community College shooting in Roseberg, Oregon on Oct. 1 where nine people were killed and several more were injured.

Since 2013, there have been 986 recorded mass shootings in the United States. The number of firearm deaths for the year 2013 is 33,636 with roughly two-thirds of those deaths being classified as suicides, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In response to the appropriateness of having a gun show not long after a mass shooting on a college campus, Lewis said that it was perfectly appropriate.

“What stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Lewis said.

The United States has 4.4 percent of the world’s population however it lays claim to nearly half of the world’s civilian-owned guns according to data from 2007 also collected by the Small Arms Survey.

The United States has the most civilian-owned guns per capita in the world with 112.6 guns per 100 people according to the Small Arms Survey. It also has the most guns accounted for within the country.

While individuals are not permitted to keep or carry firearms or other weapons on campus, they may store these types of items with the UAFPD.

In order to store items with the UAFPD, an individual must fill out a Weapons Storage Agreement Form, which can be found on the University Police Department webpage. This service is free of charge.

Individuals are also allowed to have a weapon if it locked securely inside a vehicle according to R02.09.020 of the Board of Regents University Regulations.

From 2012 to 2014 the UAFPD has made five arrests for weapon possession, according to the 2015 Campus Security and Fire Safety Report. This statistic does, however, reflect all weapon arrests—not necessarily just those with firearms.

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