The debate in Austin over whether to ban gun shows from a public facility is almost certainly intense, driven by horrific recent events -- and familiar to Tarrant County.Proposals to control gun shows have kicked around at the federal, state and local levels for more than two decades. They gain momentum each time a notorious mass shooting sets the public on edge and stirs a search for ways to prevent another episode.While Vice President Joe Biden gave President Barack Obama a proposal for federal gun controls Monday, Travis County commissioners and Austin City Council members are considering ending gun shows at the Exposition Center, which sits on city land and is leased by the county.There are legitimate questions about whether local officials barring gun sales from public property conflicts with state authority to regulate gun sales generally. And there's a larger question of whether a ban would enhance public safety or merely give the illusion of it.But that hasn't stopped some state officials from escalating emotions by hurling inflammatory word bombs to shout down the discussion.Texas Attorney Greg Abbott, for instance, stomped all over the notion of local control with this corny bravado on Twitter Jan. 8: "If Austin or Travis Co. try to ban gun shows they better be ready for a double-barreled lawsuit."San Antonio stopped allowing gun shows on public property years ago. Some cities have rules against unlicensed dealers selling at public facilities.But Fort Worth-owned Will Rogers Memorial Center, which hosts a dozen or more gun shows a year, has no such restrictions. When the City Council in 2000 debated separate resolutions to encourage a federal law requiring background checks for all guns sold at shows and to allow only licensed dealers at the shows, no vote resulted.The shows bring in more than $200,000 a year. Two shows around Christmas attracted more than 30,000 people. The prospect of restrictions remains volatile indeed.