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Gun show in Billings draw big attendance numbers on first day

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Posted at 11:13 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-17 01:13:39-04

Firearms enthusiasts turned out for a gun show started a three-day run at the MetraPark Montana Pavilion in Billings on Friday afternoon.

Sports Connection, Inc. held a gun show in February, and this is the first show back to normal after the lifting of COVID guidelines.

Many waited in line to get into the Montana Pavilion.

"We opened the doors at 1 o'clock," said Brian Kjensmo, promoter for the Sports Connection Gun Show. "We had people in line all the way up until 2:30. This will be the largest attendance show on a Friday afternoon in the 23 years that we've had the shows."

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KTVQ photo

Kjensmo said the attendance indicates the demand for guns and ammunition.

"What's driving the demand right now is the current administration," Kjensmo said about the Biden Administration. "When the Democrats are in office, attendance at all these shows will spike because they are constantly pounding the drum for tighter gun control, firearms restrictions, banning of certain firearms."

Biden, a Democrat, ordered all flags to be flown half staff Friday for the fifth time in eight weeks following a shooting that killed eight people at an Indianapolis FedEx facility. He called recent mass shootings a national embarrassment that must come to end.

Biden also said we must act as too many Americans are dying every day from gun violence.

Some of the customers have their own reasons for attending.

"I like the shooting," said Josh Tjaden, a gun show customer. "I enjoy it. A lot of hunting. Montana hunting. That's the biggest thing and they have a lot of older guns here."

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KTVQ photo

"Like antique guns and antique-like helmets and war helmets," said Alex Yarbrough, gun show customer.

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KTVQ photo

They talked about the shootings that happened around the country.

"Someone's got a history of violence or something like that and it's not a felony, you should check on them a little bit more," said Zachary Pellacore, gun show customer. "And get them to have like a psychological thing."

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KTVQ photo

"Every one of those crimes that are committed is a heinous act," said Kjensmo. "It's devastating to those families in the communities where they happen at. But if you go back and you start looking at it, so much of that is mental illness. Let's talk about common-sense mental health laws and regulations and see what we can do to address those things as well."

For Kjensmo, it's about preserving the Second Amendment.

"The Second Amendment is the absolute key to the future of this country," Kjensmo said. "You're in the media, right. If we didn't have the Second Amendment, there would not be a First Amendment. So, all these things go hand in hand. Our forefathers were geniuses when they put together what we have in this country today. It should go unchanged."

Kjensmo said gun show promoters around the country also have seen high attendance.

The show here in Billings runs Saturday from 9 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at MetraPark.