News Column

Gun Owners Worried About Obama

Nov. 12, 2012

David Harper, World Staff Writer

To Bill Compton, President Barack Obama is second only to Bill Clinton as a gun salesman.

A lot of the people who attended Wanenmacher's Tulsa Arms Show at Expo Square on Saturday seemed to feel the same way as Compton, a Texas resident who has been offering collectible firearms at the Tulsa show for about 15 years.

The first four years of Obama's presidency has featured him signing legislation that allowed loaded firearms in some national parks and Amtrak trains. However, the concern among some people seems to be that real change, which would make it harder to get guns, could be looming in Obama's second term when he doesn't have to worry about re-election.

"Real change is what we're really worried about," said 58-year- old Keith Franklin of Clearwater, Minn., who made a 15-hour drive to Tulsa with his son, 26-year-old Thomas Franklin.

"If you look at his record, he might try to get things passed," said 30-year-old Matt Simpson of prospective White House-backed anti- gun legislation. "The Democrats in general, that's their M.O."

Simpson had traveled to the Tulsa show from the Kansas City area with Rick Davis, also 30.

Davis was wearing a T-shirt that was styled like a baseball jersey with "Amendment 2" on the back and the phrase "freedom to keep and bear arms" on the front.

Davis said that business has picked up at the gun shop in which the two have ownership interest since Obama was re-elected last Tuesday.

Similar anecdotal reports have been common throughout the country, and stocks of gun manufacturers - as well as retailers that sell firearms - have typically been up since Tuesday.

Show manager Joe Wanenmacher said the twice-a-year Tulsa event typically draws 35,000 to 40,000 over a weekend. Yet this fall's installment - which concludes with a session from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday - may bring even greater attendance, he said.

Wanenmacher said Oklahoma's new open-carry law and a growing desire people have to protect themselves from home- invasion crimes are also causes for the huge crowd that packed the QuikTrip Center on Saturday.

However, the first reason he mentioned had to do with what happened at the polls last Tuesday.

"The result of the election has people concerned about more restrictive firearm legislation," he said.

John Tippin, 63, of Olathe, Kan., said any such measures should be well down the list of priorities for Obama's second term.

"He should just leave us alone," said Tippin, who added tougher gun laws "wouldn't hurt the bad guys. They would just hurt the good guys."

Eric Ogdon, 41, of Muldrow, said he has been attending the Tulsa show for several years. As he surveyed the elbow-to-elbow crowd on Saturday, he said it looked to him as if people were concerned Obama was going to leave more restrictive gun laws as a "going-away present" to the American people before his second term expires in January 2017.

Mike Benker, 61, of the Waco, Texas, area said he thinks it's more likely that ammunition will become harder to get during Obama's second term.

Wanenmacher said there were more than 4,100 tables set up at the Tulsa show, enough to stretch for more than six miles had they been lined up end-to-end.

While Expo Square has a policy not to allow concealed or open carry of handguns in its facilities, some attendees on Saturday had unloaded firearms slung over their shoulders that they were willing to part with for the right offer.

Gary Sanders, 66, had a couple of 1880s-era Winchesters available on Saturday. The Branson, Mo., resident said he is not too worried about the nation's gun laws getting more restrictive during Obama's second term.

Sanders said he thinks the National Rifle Association is too strong to let such a thing happen.

Still, a lot of people on Saturday seemed to believe it was better to be safe than sorry - especially with more uncertainty looming in 2016 when Obama's successor is elected.

"Most of us feel like his replacement is going to be Hillary Clinton," Compton said.

Source: (C) 2012 Tulsa World. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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