Clash over gun shows on public property nears

Cal Jillson, political science professor at SMU's Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, talks about a coming clash over gun shows held on public property.

By Anna M. Tinsley

A showdown over gun shows is looming in Texas.

As Austin and Travis County officials prepare to vote on whether weapon markets should be hosted in their publicly owned Exposition Center - potentially laying the groundwork for other Texas communities to follow - top state officials are firing back in defense of gun shows.

"If Austin or Travis Co. try to ban gun shows they better be ready for a double-barreled lawsuit," tweeted the state's top attorney, Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Gun shows are big business at publicly owned facilities in Texas and many other states. The Fort Worth Gun Show and the Lone Star Gun Show run almost monthly at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

But elected officials nationwide are considering whether to restrict shows at public facilities after mass shootings, most recently the Dec. 14 massacre in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 children and six educators dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School....

"There is a broader acceptance of guns and the gun culture and gun shows in Tarrant County than Austin," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "Austin is the more liberal, progressive part of the state. And they are going to be out of the gate quick on gun issues."

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