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Now That Travis County Gun Shows Are Here To Stay, How Are They Regulated?
Travis County commissioners said they don't hold the power to ban gun shows at county owned facilities. Tuesday afternoon, they agreed to honor all of the current gun show contracts, after weeks of talks about a possible ban.
Right now there are nine gun shows planned to run this year. Since they're officially staying in Central Texas, we wanted to look into how they're regulated.
Lately Michael Cargill has been teaching sold out concealed hand gun classes. He's also the owner of Central Texas Gun Works, where he has $150,000 worth of merchandise on back order. Business is good.
"We participate in as many gun shows as we can," he said.
Cargill told KEYE TV most of his money is made at those shows, where people can buy handguns, rifles and assault weapons
Since he's a full time firearms dealer, Cargill is required to run background checks for all purchases at the shows, but a gun law loophole allows buyers to avoid background checks when purchasing from private sellers.
On Tuesday, Travis County commissioners said they want to change that.
"You have individuals who can do a private sale, they can go in the parking lot here and do a private sale and its the same thing they do at gun shows," Cargill explained.
He also said, for now, customers must buy at their own risk. He told us there's no way of knowing if you're purchasing a stolen gun.
"There's no system for that," he said. "Just like you can walk into a pawn shop and they have no way of checking if it's stolen."
As far as security at gun shows, the organizers of the show usually provide off duty officers. In the past, APD has also been on the premises.
Cargill added no one is allowed to carry a loaded gun into the event, and every gun brought in or sold is tied up.
"They put a little zip tie in there to make sure it can't be fired," he said.
Cargill believes a gun show is the safest place to purchase firearms. Still, Travis County and the City of Austin continue to consider curbing gun shows and changing their regulations.
SAXET, the company that has nine gun shows scheduled in Central Texas over the next 13 months, could not be reached for comment about the commissioners' decision. Representatives did tell us each show brings in about $15,000 in revenue.
By Katherine Stolp