Democrats fire blanks at Tarrant gun shows

Posted Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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kennedy Nearly 20 years have passed since a Democrat last won a countywide election in Tarrant County.

You'd think they'd want to win again someday.

Instead, Tarrant Democrats seem bent on chasing away moderate voters by the thousands -- the 15,000-plus at a typical Cultural District gun show.

For more than 40 years, the Original Fort Worth Gun Show has drawn hunters, hobbyists, enthusiasts and, lately, investors to a city exhibit hall in the shadow of art museums.

But now, the county Democratic Party executive committee wants city officials to impose tough local rules for gun sales on city property, including background checks and an odd seven-day waiting period for any rifle or gun.

In other words, Democratic officials basically want the gun shows gone.

County Democratic Chairman Steve Maxwell of Fort Worth, stepping down but awaiting replacement, said party leaders are simply "heeding the call of the president, who said we've got to start doing something."

Earth to Tarrant County Democrats:

The president won 41 percent here.

That was worse than the 44 percent he received in 2008.

If you want to help Democrats win state, county or city elections, picking on gun shows is not the place to start.

Even political science professors laughed.

"Attempts to restrict gun shows have generally not been successful," Southern Methodist University's Cal Jillson replied by email, "and probably shouldn't be."

Congress might consider more background checks, he wrote, but cities can't defend having special rules for gun sales.

Original Fort Worth Gun Show owner Tim Finucane, successor to the late founder and radio host Bob Norman, said the resolution left him "stunned."

"This is misguided," he said.

"Our gun shows are not the problem. With all the police and undercover officers, nobody breaking the law is going to come around a gun show."

Mayor Betsy Price, a Republican and a lifelong outdoorswoman, sounded as if she must have stifled a laugh when our reporter called.

"So far," she said, "we haven't heard a widespread outcry."

Just say this strategy backfired.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538

Twitter: @budkennedy

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