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Gun advocates turn out for rallies, shows

Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:23:32 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 20 2013 02:57:00 AM CST

Wisconsin gun advocates joined nationwide rallies in support of gun rights.

The group Wisconsin Guns Across America held a peaceful rally Saturday outside the Capitol in Madison.

Capitol police spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said an estimated 500 to 600 people showed up and there were no issues.

The Facebook page for the event called it a "peaceful picketing protest."

Pictures posted on the page showed people holding signs like "Know Guns Know Freedom."

The rally is one of many slated to take place on state capitols across the country thanks to a loosely organized campaign via social media. The rallies were sponsors by the Washington D.C.-based group Political Media.

Meanwhile, the annual Janesville Gun Show took place over the weekend with organizers citing a quadrupling in attendance, with an estimated 60 percent of attendees saying they had never been to a gun show before.

Bob Pucci of Bob and Rocco's Gun Shows, the host of the event, said assault rifle sales are up at gun shows across the state.

"People are buying anything they're talking about banning," said Pucci.

Despite concerns, Pucci said most criminals aren't getting weapons from gun shows.

"So when you come into the show, 17 of the dealers you're going to deal with are going to do background checks," said Pucci. "48 hour waiting period on hand guns. And you can't get a gun until you pass the background check."

Pucci said the issue of gun violence reaches beyond what happened last month in Newtown, Conn.

"We had a bunch of white kids at an affluent school. This guy went in and goes crazy. That same day, we had 9 kids shot in Chicago. Nobody cared about that. On an average day in the United States, almost 100 kids get shot in gang incidents, but they're black, Hispanic, and Asian, nobody cares about it," said Pucci.

Gun enthusiasts in attendance were split as to whether or not banning certain weapons will help stem gun violence.

"This is my own personal opinion," said attendee Patrick Wuksinich. "I don't want those around really, but to have those smaller caliber guns, revolvers, I think it's just fine."

"They're threatening to take something away from innocent people and that's not right," countered attendee Charles Warrick. "They're punishing everyone for some people who aren't responsible with weapons."

Pucci has been hosting gun shows since 1988 and says people – not guns – are the problem.

"We need to have a system where people who have problems, we find out about it and they don't have access to weapons," said Pucci.

Pucci reported an assault rifle would have cost about $900 just a few months ago.

Now the price for each is well over $2,000.

The Janesville Gun Show continues through Sunday at the Rock County Fairgrounds in Janesville.

Meanwhile, five people around the nation were injured at three different gun shows.

Three people were injured in North Carolina when a gun accidentally went off.

Officials said a man brought out a shotgun from its case when it fired.

Another man shot himself in Indiana, and in Ohio, a man was checking out a gun he had just bought when he pulled the trigger.

A bullet had been left in the gun's chamber, wounding a friend.

All victims were taken to local hospitals, and all three incidents have been declared accidents.

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