MIAMI (CBS4) – Guns took center stage at multiple South Florida events this weekend.
At Victor Bean’s Southern Classic Gun and Knife show at the Dade County fairgrounds, the lines formed long before the doors opened.
“We’re having record crowds. We’re running approximately 800 -1000 people an hour,” said organizer Victor Bean.
He said the president’s gun control proposals drew the record crowds.
“Due to the backlash of the mass killing in Connecticut and all the gun legislation, people are afraid they won’t be able to get the guns they’d like to purchase,” said Bean.
One gun show attendee who didn’t want to be identified explained his take on the large crowds.
“All the new laws they’re trying to enact that’s the reason,” he said.
Inside the gun show some buyers said gun prices had gone up due to increased demand.
“Everything’s expensive,” said another man who asked us not to use his name.
Some tables inside the show were empty. According to a sign the empty tables were a consequence of “panic buying and hoarding.”
Robert Andre, who said he would have come to the gun show regardless of the president’s proposals, said he hoped the high demand wouldn’t impact his plan to purchase.
“There’s a big line and hopefully there’s still some left for everybody,” he said.
While some spent the weekend buying guns, others gave theirs up. Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said the Newtown shooting likely increased attendance at a gun buyback event in Model City where gun owners exchanged weapons for grocery store certificates or Heat tickets.
“I think there’s a national conscience being built that weapons are dangerous and so I think that the timing of this was the right timing,” the Mayor said, adding,” if we close shop by taking 40 or 50 weapons that is fantastic because maybe one weapon would’ve been used to shoot somebody.”
A local pastor, Rev. Douglas Cook gave up his gun and encouraged others in his congregation to do the same. “Every other week, once a month somebody’s gunned down in this neighborhood,” he said.
Nearly 130 guns were turned in on Saturday.
Miami Police plan more gun buybacks in the coming weeks.
Sgt. Freddie Cruz explained, “We need to get some of these weapons off the street so they don’t fall in the hands of a juvenile some criminal we need to make Miami a safer place.”