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Gun Show Promotor Calls ‘Double Booking’ Suspicious
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Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman has, for years, made gun control a major priority. He’s delivered numerous speeches on the dangers of illegal guns, gang violence and even gun shows. During his State of the City Address last week, he narrowed his focus to one company in particular.
“C & E, we are calling you out today,” Coleman said.
C & E is the Virginia-based company that runs traveling gun shows around the country, including a reoccuring show at the Westland Mall that’s come under heat from Coleman for not requiring background checks. Coleman said dealers at a recent C & E show told investigators they routinely sell guns to people who admit they would not pass a background check.
“If you have a nickel of moral responsibility in your pocket, I ask you to spend it in Columbus. Required background checks on all private gun sales at your gun shows,” Coleman said.
C & E co-owner Annette Elliott said they don’t require the checks because federal law mandates checks only for licensed dealers. Elliott’s company was all set for another convention last weekend, this time inside the downtown Franklin County Veteran’s Memorial until she got an email just two days before Coleman’s address.
“What had happened, basically, is (Veterans Memorial marketing director) Adrian Yates told me ‘we’re not obligated to give you a courtesy call,’ and they sold the date on Friday the 18th,” Elliott said.
Elliott is furious, and is now considering legal action since she spent $17,000 advertising the show around central Ohio. She’s also suspicious about Coleman’s comments and the county renting the facility to another company coming within two days of each other.
“Either he has extremely bad timing, or it’s a very strange coincidence, or he’s involved.”
But Yates insists the move was not politically motivated.
“I understand it’s the perfect storm. I absolutely get it.”
But, she said, it’s pure conicidence. Yates said Elliott was working under the assumption that the contract was finished. When there was only a hold on the building. Yates said her office called Elliott and all the other companies who reserved space and said contracts had to be finilized in January. Without a binding contract, Yates said she signed a contract with another company last week because she hadn’t heard from Elliott.
“And what she’s failing to do, she’s mad because she spent $17,000 in advertising, which I would be too, but I would have made sure all my ducks are in a row and I had a contract,” Yates said.
Coleman’s office has also said they had nothing to do with the decision, although his spokesman Dan Williamson said he’d like to take credit for getting the convention out of town.