After two accidental discharges at gun shows at Expo Idaho in the past three years, Ada County officials have decided to pull the plug on a couple of gun shows scheduled for later this year, but they are allowing one to proceed this weekend.
A moratorium on gun shows is needed while the county does a thorough review of policies and practices, Ada County Commission Chairman Jim Tibbs told the Idaho Statesman on Thursday. He said the review will be a priority, but he had no timeline for its completion.
“We’re very concerned about safety at this or any other event. Some are more risky than others,” Tibbs said. “ We’re also concerned about liability.”
On Dec. 28, Ada County officials notified promoter Paul L.C. Snider of Lewis Clark Trader LLC that they planned to cancel his February and March shows. This weekend’s show was allowed to continue because the promoter already had spent money advertising the event, and canceling on short notice would have been an undue hardship.
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In a Dec. 30 letter to Snider, the commissioners wrote:
“There would be no question about proceeding with the current shows you’ve booked if there had not been a history of weapons discharges in connection with shows at Expo Idaho. Notwithstanding our support of Second Amendment rights, we are concerned about the safety of patrons and vendors in our facilities during, and in preparation for, gun shows, including the ones you produce.”
Snider did not return calls and emails seeking comment. Lewis Clark Trader bought a half-page ad in the Idaho Statesman on Thursday that called this weekend’s event the “last gun show.”
Sen. Mike Crapo plans to attend that gun show at 10:30 a.m. Saturday to “condemn President Obama’s attacks on the Second Amendment” and discuss how legislation will help reduce acts of violence, according to a press release.
Lewis Clark Trader presented an Oct. 31 event at which two men were shot in the leg just before the show opened. A vendor was securing a bolt-action rifle with a plastic zip tie when the gun discharged. No tort claims have been filed in connection with that incident.
Ada County was among four parties that were sued after two people were injured on April 13, 2013 at a show presented by EE-DA-HOW Long Rifles Inc.
Through mediation, Ada County agreed to pay $100,000 as part of a settlement with Holden P. Coladonato, an airman at Mountain Home Air Force Base who was partially blinded when shrapnel flew into his eye in the 2013 incident. The county sued EE-DA-HOW’s insurance carrier to recover that money, according to county spokesman Larry Maneely. The other defendants — EE-DA-HOW Long Rifles, Inc., Barton Security Services and Morgan K. Phillips, the owner/vendor of the gun that discharged — also reached settlements.
The Ada County Sheriff’s Office has finished its investigation into the incident last October, according to spokesman Patrick Orr. The report will not be available until prosecutors decide if the vendor will face charges.Commissioners, Expo Idaho director Bob Batista and legal staff have discussed the issue over the past several weeks, spokesman Maneely said. They’re requiring additional safety procedures this weekend, including the securing and/or tying of guns before they are brought into Expo Idaho. Security officers will observe gun show personnel, who must inspect all firearms and ammunition that are part of the show. Other measures will include a single entrance for bringing in firearms and ammunition. Security at other entrances will check bags for firearms.