01/14/2013 05:31 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2013

Gun Show At Spooner Elementary School In Wisconsin Sparks Controversy

A Wisconsin elementary school may once again serve as the venue for a local gun club's annual gun show, provoking the ire of some locals in the wake of the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

The Indianhead Rifle & Pistol Club has hosted the two-day event at Spooner Elementary School for the past 20 years, the Spooner Advocate reports.

The Spooner Area School Board will reportedly meet Monday to discuss the location of this year's show, which is slated for mid-April. Three board members oppose holding the event at Spooner Elementary, three support keeping it there and one remains undecided, according to ThinkProgress.

Defending Indianhead Rifle & Pistol Club’s plan to host its gun show at Spooner Elementary, school board member Willie Kauffman said the annual event is a community gathering that benefits students through the club’s payment to the school, which has previously amounted to around $1,000, the Spooner Advocate reports.

Monday's meeting in Spooner comes as regulators across the country weigh imposing stricter rules on gun shows and school districts consider putting pistols in the hands of teachers and security guards to protect students from possible attacks.

Other gun shows have recently drawn criticism for using schools as venues. Despite opposition from gun-control advocates, a gun show in Cornell, Wis., was held at the town’s high school earlier this month, the Chippewa Herald reports. District attorney Steve Gibbs reportedly assured locals that firearms dealers in attendance would account for all inventory before they left.

Wisconsin state law prohibits firearms within 1,000 feet of a school, but makes an exception for gun shows organized by licensed dealers and manufacturers. Similar exceptions and legal loopholes that allow unlicensed dealers to sell firearms without running the background checks on buyers that are required of licensed dealers have allowed gun shows to thrive, prompting recent calls for reform.

Anticipating that regulators will soon clamp down on gun shows, buyers and sellers are flocking to the events in record numbers.

Last weekend, the Saratoga Arms Fair in upstate New York carried on, The New York Times reports, despite opposition from critics who said the show came too soon after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., and too close by. Staff members at the fair, which has been around since 1984, told the Times that the event had never before attracted so many people. Attendees of a New Hampshire gun show also held last weekend reportedly said the same thing.



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