BARRE — Thousands of people descended upon Barre this weekend to take part in the Central Vermont Gun Show.
The show, which is in its 38th year, is hosted by the Barre Fish & Game Club and took place at the Barre Municipal Auditorium.
Brad Herring, the event’s organizer, said Saturday there’s been a steady crowd of people all day.
“Everybody seems to be having a good time,” he said.
Herring said about 2,000 people had showed up to the show as of Saturday afternoon. He said between 4,000 and 5,000 people are expected for the duration of the weekend.
He didn’t know how much business would be conducted over the weekend, but he said people were walking out with guns and other items.
The 65 vendors at 216 tables at the event were selling new and old guns, bows, ammunition and plenty of accessories for gun enthusiasts.
Herring said the gun show is important on a community level because bringing in thousands of people for the event means those people also visit local restaurants and hotels.
“It’s a time of year when there’s not a whole lot going on. It’s in the winter. There’s not a whole lot of recreation going on for people,” he said, adding some businesses report this weekend is their biggest of the year. Herring said the event also serves as a place for people to come together, people he only sees once a year at the gun show.
Herring said people at the event were concerned with the Legislature and what its plans are when it comes to gun control measures.
A bill has been introduced into the Vermont House that would implement a 72-hour waiting period for those looking to buy a gun. A similar bill has been introduced in the Vermont Senate with a 48-hour waiting period.
Ed Cutler, the president of Gun Owners of Vermont, said his organization is very concerned with the proposed legislation.
“This gun show is on for two days,” Cutler said. “With a 72-hour wait, you buy a gun here what are you going to do? The gun shows will close up.”
He also brought up an incident in December where a rabid bobcat attacked people in White River Junction. Cutler said someone who has a rabid animal around their house wouldn’t be able to buy a gun and kill the animal for three days if the bill is passed into law.
“You have to wait 72 hours to protect yourself against a rabid animal, or a bear with cubs or a number of other things,” he said. “It takes away a person’s self defense.”