Five gun shows booked at Tacoma Dome through 2015

Background checks required for all sales

Staff writerJune 17, 2014 

Shotguns and rifles were on display for sale April 13 during the Wes Knodel Gun Show at the SW Washington Fairgrounds in Centralia.

STEVE BLOOM — The Olympian Buy Photo

The gun show must go on.

In April, Wes Knodel of Oregon hosted a well-attended gun show at the Tacoma Dome.

People who buy guns from a licensed firearm dealer must pass a federal background check before the gun changes hands. But in Washington state, if a person buys a gun from a private seller, no background check is required.

The City Council’s voted unanimously in May to require background checks for all buyers at shows on city-owned or managed property, regardless of where the firearm comes from. Initiative 594 will also be on the ballot this fall, which hopes to close this so-called gun show loophole.

Knodel believes the city is following bad legal advice and he initially balked at scheduling more shows with the requirement in place. But the April show was so well attended, Knodel has decided to sign contracts for five more shows at the Dome in the next two years.

He said he booked the first show because people told him they wanted a quality gun show in the area. In April, more than 6,000 people paid the $10 entrance fee — many more than what Knodel expected for the inaugural event.

The response was phenomenal to say the least. It is obvious from the results of our April show this can be the largest show of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. Not only for our customers and dealers but the Tacoma area as well!
After much reflection, Knodel decided to book five dates for future gun shows at the Dome, one on November 8-9 (four days after voters decide on I-594) and four more in 2015.

Within the contract I have agreed to require background checks for all firearm sales not already required to do so. This will be the first Gun Show in the State of Washington to offer a “complete per transaction background check on the buyer and the firearm”
Knodel said in his press release that the buyer will not pay for the background check. He writes that it will take a few more minutes to process a background check. Knodel says the new system also has its advantages:

EVERY gun and EVERY buyer is checked for EVERY transaction. … The buyer is assured they are not purchasing a stolen gun. The seller is assured they are not illegally selling to a UN qualified buyer.
He also acknowledges the reason many want gun reform, and that he believes I-594 will pass:

Due to the recent gang, school and mass shootings, not only in Washington but nationwide, there is a new fear. This fear is a national debate. The constitution gives us the right to bear arms, defend ourselves and property. Yet we all agree that there are those who have lost that right and should not be capable of purchasing weapons. This is why we have gone to great lengths to go above and beyond to prevent such sales at our events.
Read the full press release below.

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542

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