DuPage gun show cancels AR-15 raffle, protest still planned

DUPAGE COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- AR-15 rifles and bump stocks are banned from a gun show taking place in DuPage County on Saturday, but a planned protest will still go on, according to organizers.

The protest was organized by a group called Friends Who March. They will continue with their plan to protest the gun show put on by the Pioneer Valley Sportsman's Association at the DuPage County Fairgrounds, and said the real target of the demonstration is the National Rifle Association.

"This just needs to stop. We need to vote out anyone who's taking money from the NRA," said Jax West, founder of Friends Who March.

Friends Who March organized the protest in the wake of the school shooting two weeks ago in Parkland, Fla.

The Pioneer Valley Sportsman's Association puts on seven shows a year at the DuPage County Fairgrounds, and has for the past 40 years. This is the first time a protest has been planned. The association originally planned to raffle off an AR-15 assault rifle like the one used in the Parkland shooting, but fairgrounds officials convinced them that was inappropriate.

"We invite families to come out and have fun, celebrate, enjoy life. And we weren't sure that message fits with selling those types of weapons," said Jim McGuire, fairgrounds manager.

Organizers plan to have extra security on the grounds to keep the peace and police the show. They said they will allow no AR-15's or bump stocks in the fair. The Pioneer Valley Sportsman's Association said that's fine with them.

"Both the DuPage County Fairgrounds and the Pioneer Valley Sportsman's Association support common sense laws. We still want to support second amendment rights of average law-abiding citizens," said association president Mario Tolomei.

Nevertheless, protesters still intend to send a message.

"We're going to be there still drawing the attention to the NRA and we need sensible gun laws," West said.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.