This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Sandy • They came to the Crossroads of the West Gun Show on Sunday carrying rifles and pistols and many a heavy heart over the shooting Saturday in Tucson.
Like most Americans, Utah's firearm enthusiasts were quick to condemn the senseless rampage that left six people dead and 14 people wounded including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who now is fighting for her life.
Yet for a number of the gun owners who wandered among the hundreds of displays of shotguns, handguns and ammunition at the South Towne Expo Center on Sunday, there potentially was another tragedy lurking in the background.
It centered on the fear the shooting could spark a new wave of gun control legislation that could threaten to undermine the right to keep and bear firearms.
"As soon as we heard about the shooting we had people coming up and asking us what's next," said Ralph Schamel, who was helping staff the National Rifle Association's booth outside the show. "You can bet that anytime an idiot does something like that, there will some kind of [anti-gun] reaction."
And that is especially true, he said, since two of the victims of the shooting were the congresswoman and a federal judge.
Sporting a cowboy hat and wearing a large belt buckle that he received in 1990 for winning first place in the Newton County, Texas, bull-riding championship, John Taylor, of Orem, described the shooting as tragic and senseless.
"You hate to hear of anything like that. But you can't help but think what might have happened if there were a few people around who were carrying [firearms]," Taylor said, suggesting there might have been fewer victims.
Law-enforcement personnel in Arizona have identified the alleged gunman as Jared Loughner, 22. He was said to have used a gun with an extended clip to carry out the attack, which only ended after he was tackled by two people in the crowd.
"It takes a crazy person to do something like that," said James McArthur as he asked a gun dealer at the show for permission to pick up a rifle lying on his display table. "I heard of some guy getting in his car and deliberately running over somebody the other day. There are crazy people out there, and it doesn't have anything to do with law abiding people who just want to keep a pistol or rifle around for self defense."