Gun owners and gun rights advocates are upset about a no-gun policy at the Delaware State Fair, even though the policy has been in place for decades.
The addition of weapon detectors and screening devices at the fair entrance this year seemed to raise awareness of the policy.
“The Delaware State Fair is now officially anti-gun,” read a statement from the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association.
“You’re making the place unsafe by declaring gun-free zones, so much like other places that have been declared gun-free zones, people who are intent on doing harm use that as an indicator of where they can go and do harm,” said Jeff Hague, president of the Sportsmen’s Association. “They tend to shy away from places where there might be a firearm for people to protect themselves.”
The fair kicks off Thursday and runs through July 29.
“We’ve had a prohibition on weapons and I have been here for 17 years and it’s been over 20 years that I can remember,” said Danny Aguilar, assistant general manager and director of marketing for the fair. “We’ve always had a prohibition on weapons coming in, so this is nothing new.”
The detectors and screening devices simply enhance the prohibition and add an element of security, Aguilar has said.
Hague said the ban on guns excludes and isolates thousands of Delawareans.
“They’re saying that regardless of your training, your background, or the fact that you’re permitted to carry a concealed firearm or weapon in the state of Delaware or by the federal government,” Hague said, “you’re not considered trustworthy and safe on the state’s fairground with a firearm.”
Plenty of community members in the Delaware Gun Rights Facebook group, which has more than 23,311 members, have said they are planning on boycotting the fair.
Several are predicting the fair’s attendance will take a big hit because patrons aren’t allowed to bring guns.
Last year, the fair said it had 299,511 people attend.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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