Florida Gun Shows ban private sales in light of new city, county ordinances

Warnings being handed out to all visitors and vendors

ORLANDO, Fla. – This weekend is the first gun show in Central Florida to really test the new ordinance passed by Orange County Commissioners last week.

The ordinance states that any gun sales made in public places like the fairgrounds must go through the necessary background checks and mandatory three-day waiting period that regular gun sales require.

More than 200 vendors and 10,000 visitors are expected at the weekend Florida Gun Shows at the Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando.

Organizers with the Florida Gun Shows say they will have more than a dozen officers and security personnel watching what happens both inside and outside the show. That number will include officers and security personnel in uniform and also in plain clothes. Representatives from the ATF are also expected.

"Anyone who comes into the gun show and brings a firearm, the firearm has to be unloaded, no ammo and must be checked by a law enforcement officer,"  Florida Gun Shows spokesman George Fernandez said.

Fernandez is a retired police officer with more than 27 years of experience under his belt and says his father was a licensed gun dealer, so he understands the concerns about guns getting into the wrong hands. 

He says that about a month ago, Florida Gun Shows banned private sales from happening at their shows in light of the recent changes in the law that are happening in cities and counties across the state.

But he admits, enforcing the issue might be tough, since authorities are not directly monitoring each and every interaction between the visitors and the more than 200 vendors.

"Because the criminal element buys firearms outside on the street, on the black market," Fernandez said. "And no matter what laws are ever put into place, the criminal element will always have access to firearms."

Fernandez says only a local law enforcement sting operation could prove whether illegal gun sales are happening, despite the warnings and changes in the law.

But he adds that should their security or staff notice a violation, they are urged to report it.

"We want to provide a safe environment not only for our vendors but for the people who come here," Fernandez said.

Orlando police confirm they did send a notice to their personnel Thursday about the new ordinance but, they say they will not be proactively checking at the gun show, only enforcing the law when a violation is brought to their attention.

The maximum penalties under the new Orange County Ordinance are a 60-day jail sentence, six months of probation and/or a $500 fine.