JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Gun shows continue to be a common and popular event at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds.
This past weekend, New South Gun Shows held a two-day event.
Hundreds poured into the Trademart Building to be a part of the gun show.
“Our Jackson, Mississippi show at the fairgrounds, we have been doing this,” said Bill Milstead, show director. “This is year 41.”
Milstead said he enjoys seeing vendors and customers interacting with one another and having a good time.
“We have always considered ourselves a family event,” he said.
But while Milstead does not see anything wrong with hosting gun shows in Jackson, others feel the exact opposite.
Outside the fairgrounds where the event was taking place, a group of concerned residents protested against the gun show.
Leading the peaceful protest was Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes, who has been very vocal about shows like these in the Capital City.
“It is not right that they have these gun shows with gun violence out of control,” said Stokes.
The councilman said he wants the events moved out of the fairgrounds and out of the city of Jackson.
“If they want to have these gun shows in other places, take them to Madison and Rankin Counties,” said Stokes.
He also believes the gun shows are a critical component that’s leading to the surge in violence across the city.
However, Milstead said he disagrees with Stokes’ claims.
“They doing it on state property because they’re protected by the State of Mississippi,” said Stokes. “They are ignoring the city’s ordinance because they are saying the state has superiority over city ordinances. What they are doing is going around the city through the backdoor to make sure that these gunrunners, people who purchase these guns illegally, put them out here in these neighborhoods for these young criminals, to make sure that they have these guns.”
“We happen to be the convenient thing,” said Milstead. “There are a lot of gun shops that have been around for years and years, and most of the things I see from gun violence, if they are not stolen firearms from a private individual, then they are usually bought in all legal manners.”
Milstead says he plans to continue having gun shows at the fairgrounds.
Meanwhile, Stokes says he plans to continue protesting and speaking out against the gun shows every time they come to town.