SPOONER, Wis. - For the last 20 years, the Indianhead Rifle and Pistol Club has held its annual gun show at Spooner Elementary School, but this year, after what happened in Newtown, Connecticut, the school board is questioning the event.
The board was expected to make a decision at its meeting Monday night, but ultimately decided it needed more information. The lack of a decision was a disappointment to those who spoke passionately on both sides of the issue.
"Why would you not have a gun show there? That's the question. There's nothing harmful going on," said Dennis A. Wood, one of more than a dozen people who got up to speak before the board.
The debate never got heated or out of hand.
"I came to Spooner 10 years ago and I was confused and surprised when I learned that the gun show was being held at the elementary school," said Jackie Perro.
It was simply a collection of thoughtful arguments, mostly in support of the spring gun show and for continuing to hold it at the elementary school.
"This community up here is a hunting and fishing community. I would guess 80 percent of homes up here have guns in them, so you're not keeping the kids away from guns, it's more of a political agenda," said Ed Morgan.
Defenders say the show has never caused a problem. It even generates about $1,000 for the district and raised enough money last year to outfit the soccer club. Detractors say it's not the gun show they have an issue with, it's the location.
"I'm sure the gun show has always been impeccably safe. That's not the issue. The issue is that guns are not allowed in schools and to me it just does not make any sense to allow a gun show to happen on the premises," said Kathy Shattuck.
The board had questions though. Is everyone licensed? Can it move to the High School? Or off school grounds altogether? That meant the decision was delayed.
"Sadly disappointed, when you're elected stand up and make a decision one way or the other, right or wrong, let the chips fall where they may," said Tim Brabec with the Indianhead Rifle and Pistol Club.
He says they will now work on plan 'B'. The school board's next meeting is Feb. 11. They say they hope to have a decision by then.
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