Share This Page

Corbett reverses course on comment about gun-show ban

| Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Gov. Tom Corbett reversed course late Friday after a previous remark to a radio-show caller that he would consider banning gun shows from state-owned property drew national attention.

Earlier in the day, the caller to WITF's “Radio Smart Talk” asked Corbett why Pennsylvania “is in the business of” allowing gun shows at the state Farm Show Complex, a 24-acre facility in Harrisburg with several large exhibition spaces.

“The state is open to all businesses using the Farm Show, but I've never given that one any thought,” Corbett said of banning gun shows from the complex. “It's a good thing to raise and I will give a thought to it.”

His comments were widely reported by media outlets throughout the nation, further fueling an ongoing debate between gun rights activists and those seeking to limit access to guns.

But by Friday evening, spokeswoman Janet Kelley issued a statement saying “there would be no reason to ban (gun shows) on public property, such as the Farm Show building, as they are legitimate business owners conducting business. Our policy on these matters remains unchanged.”

Corbett's initial comments riled gun-rights activists facing battles in states across the country in the wake of last month's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

“Gun shows are nothing more than a bunch of legitimate businesses getting together and selling a legal product,” said Kim Stolfer, chairman of Firearms Owners Against Crime and legislative director for Allegheny County Sportsmen's League. “Every dealer who sells a gun has to go through all the hoops a regular citizen has to go through at a gun store.”

An online calendar for the Farm Show Complex showed five gun-sales events were held in 2012 — four Mid-Atlantic Arms Collectors gun shows and the annual Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show.

Corbett's comments gave some hope, however brief, to anti-gun advocates.

Shira Goodman, executive director for CeaseFirePA, a statewide gun violence prevention group, said it would send “a strong message to say ‘No, we're not having gun shows in publicly owned buildings.'”

Staff writer Mike Wereschagin contributed to this report. Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.