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Over 20K expected to attend Crossroads of the West gun show

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PHOENIX -

One of the biggest gun shows in the country, Crossroads of the West, is taking place at the state fairgrounds this weekend.

It has to be one of the most high profile events in the state as far as gun sales go.

There are 16 gun show events in our state at any given time throughout the year, but Crossroads of the West is going to be a big draw.  Event organizers typically prepare for about 10,000 people to attend, but they're expecting double that number over the weekend.

In light of recent tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut, and the resulting national debate on gun control, Bob Templeton, Owner of Crossroads, held a news conference at the Fairgrounds on Friday. 

Templeton has talked to Vice President Joe Biden in Washington about the issue and says they had a good conversation, but it doesn't look like they're at any type of agreement on where we should go moving forward when considering gun shows and gun sales.

"The law abiding citizens of Arizona and indeed, the law abiding citizens of America are concerned about those incursions, the assaults, if you will, on their 2nd Amendment rights and that's why you'll see so many people out here this weekend.  It's not just a venue where people exercise their 2nd Amendment rights, but it's also a venue where people will exercise their 1st Amendment rights," said Templeton.

Templeton adds that culture of gun ownership shouldn't be hidden. It's something that should be celebrated and enjoyed and shared between those of a like mind -- and they're going to do that at the Crossroads of the West gun show.

He says increased background checks wouldn't do anything to curb gun violence.

"Nothing the president is proposing would have stopped the tragic events of Sandy Hook Elementary," said Templeton."

The ATF released a study in 2000 stating that gun shows accounted for the second highest number of trafficked guns per investigation and were associated with over 26,000 illegally diverted firearms.

But Bob Templeton and others point to a survey released by the Department of Justice around the same time which shows most convicts in state and federal prisons got their guns from family and friends, on the street or from illegal sources -- less than 1 percent said they bought their gun at a gun show.

"We have probation and parole people here undercover looking for known felons. I don't know that we can do any better job than we are in monitoring that activity right now."

Something to note: in order to keep a "safe environment," you're not permitted to carry a loaded gun at the show.

Video: FOX 10's Dan Spindle reports.

Crossroads of the West Gun Show
Jan. 19 & 20
Arizona State Fairgrounds
1826 W. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Tickets: $16
www.crossroadsgunshows.com

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