Gun show vendors receive surprise fee from city of Jackson

Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 11:12 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - One by one the Jackson Fire Department marshals made their way to each booth at the Capital City Gun Show, issuing $50 permits.

Division Chief Elliot Holmes says they were well within their boundaries by International Fire Code when they began the collection at the Wahabi Shriners Temple over the weekend. They just hadn’t ever enforced that particular code at a gun show before.

“This is the first time that we ever did this at a gun show. It’s the start of something just different from here on out that we would be assessing each vendor,” said Holmes. “Any event to be honest, to obtain a fire inspection permit. Not just a gun show.”

They called organizer Dave Chancellor on Thursday to let him know they were coming.

“I asked him why can’t we get notification this time and next time we’ll be more prepared for it because you’ve caught me off guard and I‘m not able to notify the vendors what’s about to take place until they arrive on Friday,” Chancellor said.

Holmes says the short notice is because the Fire Department didn’t know about the event until Thursday, when they saw the signs for the event. That’s when they went into action. Holmes said there are a lot of rules they can enforce if they see fit, very much like this one.

Wade Hanks is retired now, but he served as a a gun show promoter for most of his life. He says he’s never seen anything like what happened over the weekend.

He called the move “a scam” on the part of the city, because he said he didn’t see anyone keeping names or giving receipts for cash outside of the permit with each vendor’s handwritten name.

“I was handed a fire inspection permit for $50. The man never took any kind of contact info on me. He has no record who he sold the permits to,” he said.

Holmes says the inspection is to make sure each booth is abiding by safety standards in the way it’s set up and the electricity that runs to the booth.

Hanks says he’s skeptical of that.

“I saw no evidence of him or the other two with him inspecting anything.”

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