It is no secret that the City of Jackson under the Lumumba Administration is no fan of gun shows. Last summer, city leaders looked for ways to ban the gatherings. This past weekend, it would seem that there was intent by the city to impose a disincentive on the shows and their vendors by charging, for the first time ever, a “fire inspection fee” for each vendor booth at these events.
According to Jackson Jambalaya, the Jackson Fire Department surprised vendors at the gun show this weekend as it opened, telling vendors they had to pay a $50 “fire inspection fee” for each booth inside the facility on top of the $75 booth fee from the organizers.
The Fire Department’s message was delivered while being accompanied by the Jackson Police Department.
David Chancellor of Laurel operates the semi-annual gun show. Chancellor told Jackson Jambalaya that City of Jackson Fire Marshal Elliot Holmes notified the Wahabi Shrine Temple on Thursday that each vendor would have to pay the fee.
“Mr. Chancellor asked Mr. Holmes to agree to a one-time fee for just the building,” Kingfish reported. “The Fire Marshal would not budge as he said the 2018 International Fire Code allowed him to charge each vendor the fee.”
The Jackson Fire Department, with the Jackson Police Department present, told vendors to pay the fee or be escorted to the parking lot. Jackson Jambalaya says all vendors paid the fee either in cash or check as they would not accept credit cards. The vendors were provided with a permit and no carbon copy receipt.
Chancellor has operated the gun show is Jackson since 2012. This is the first time vendors have ever been assessed such a fee.
“The surprise fee nearly doubled the cost of the gun show for vendors as they must also pay a $75 exhibit fee to the promoter,” Kingfish wrote. “There are at least thirty vendors at the gun show. Mr. Chancellor collects sales taxes of $12,000 to $16,000 at each Jackson gun show. The next gun show is scheduled for November.”
However, Chancellor says that given the new stance by the City of Jackson and the increased cost he is looking elsewhere in the metro area, outside the capital city.
In August 2020, Councilman Aaron Banks, in an op-ed, said that the city “must address gun shows and ensure that tougher penalties are put in place for those vendors that do not follow proper background checks and other protocol measures.”
No official action has been taken by the City of Jackson to ban gun shows. Previous attempts to restrict the shows have failed as state law is friendly to such Second Amendment interests. Former Attorney General Jim Hood even issued an opinion following a 2006 incident, stating, “Therefore, it is the opinion of this office that the mayor may not lawfully ban gun shows by the issuance of an executive order or otherwise.”
However, given the financial constraints the City of Jackson is now imposing on each vendor, this could be the ticket for the Lumumba Administration to have the shows leave the city, taking their tax dollars with them as they go.