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County Board Rejects Gun Shows at Sports Complex

Paul Steinbach

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors has rejected a measure that would have created an exception for gun shows in the county's ordinance that prohibits dangerous weapons in county buildings — including sports facilities.

As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Milwaukee County Sports Complex in Franklin, Wis., has long hosted the Bob and Rocco Gun Show. However, the county Parks Department told the show's organizers early last year that they could not hold the gun show in that location anymore because it violated the county ordinance, which was created in November 2011.

The department is trying to align itself with county policy and "meet the overarching goal of increasing safety in our facilities" by no longer allowing the gun show at the sports complex, a department spokesman said in an email to the Journal Sentinel.

He said the complex was intended to be used as an athletic facility and growing demand for indoor sports such as soccer has pushed the department to "focus on hosting athletics events, rather than trade shows."

Looming over Thursday's long and heated discussion were the recent mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado, in addition to last week's warehouse shooting in Oconomowoc, Wis., that left two employees dead. But discussion also ranged from gun rights to state-imposed limits on the county's ability to regulate gun sales at the site to the economics of pushing the gun show to private venues in need of business after struggling in the pandemic. It also featured allegations of the spreading of misinformation from both sides, according to the Journal Sentinel.

The exception measure faced strong opposition among supervisors and was rejected on a 13-3 vote.

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