As President-elect Donald Trump fills his Cabinet, many of his supporters hope that he'll make good on his campaign promises. Chief among those, for many Mississippians, is Gun Rights. Trump campaigned as a staunch gun-rights advocate. At a recent gun show in Philadelphia, Correspondent Matt Kessler talks with Mississippians who want more firearms freedoms, and some who want stronger screening.
The parking lot is full at the Neshoba County Coliseum in Philadelphia. Inside, hundreds are attending a weekend gun show. Vendors from all over the State are selling firearms, ammunition and hunting gear at wholesale prices. Dale Buntyn, a gun store owner from Collinsville, has a booth right in the center of the action. He's selling a full range of new and used guns.
"We start out with shotguns. We carry everything from single-shot shotguns through pumps and semi-automatics," says Buntyn.
Larry is a first-time gun buyer. He asked us not to use his last name. He traveled forty miles today to attend his first gun show.
"Man, yeah, so many guns to be bought here. Whatever you want, they got it," says Larry.
He never wanted to buy a gun before. But he now feels the need to protect himself.
"So much happening in the world. People getting killed for no reason. Maybe if they had one they could have defend theyself," he says.
Organizer David Chancellor owns Big Pop Gun Shows. He's been promoting shows like this across the State since 2008. Chancellor says most of his customers seem pleased since President-elect Trump’s victory.
"I had a show in Jackson the following weekend after the election. And everybody come in was smiling and they were happy. It just seemed like the atmosphere was a whole lot better. And we felt more relaxed," says Chancellor.
Trump campaigned as a staunch gun-rights advocate. The National Rifle Association officially endorsed him at its national convention in May. Afterward, Trump promised its members that he would be the Second Amendment candidate.
"The Second Amendment is on the ballot in November. The only way to save our Second Amendment it to vote for a person that you all know named Donald Trump," said then-candidate Trump.
Trump promised to block background checks on private sales, to end bans on automatic and semi-automatic rifles, and to protect the national right to carry, all core NRA stances.
Dale, the gun store owner, explains why he agrees with Trump's policies.
"A private sale should be a private sale, it's always been that way. If I had a shotgun that I wanted to sell to my brother, I should be able to do that without having to run a background check," says Buntyn. "If you can drive in any state with a license you should be able to carry in any state with a license. A ban on anything above ten rounds all you have got to do is carry three magazines and you still got a thirty round magazine. So what's the difference?"
But many attendees are against an unregulated, gun-buying free-for-all. While they like Trump's pro-gun stance, they'd still like slightly more restrictions.
Mike Dewberry from Louisville believes criminals should be permanently prohibited from purchasing guns.
"If you're a previous criminal you should never have a gun in your hand. I don't care if you've been exonerated, if you've not been exonerated, if they've thought you've done anything wrong, you should never have a weapon," says Dewberry.
He also believes that automatic weapons shouldn't be sold to the public.
"I don't think there need to be fully auto weapons in the public's hands. I think they should be only in the military's hands for their defense of this country," he says.
Bob Perna is a retired veteran from Meridian. He thinks first-time gun buyers should have to go through training.
"I think it'd make the country a lot safer if they had some training involved with getting your license to carry," says Perna.
Remember our first-time shopper, Larry? He’s leaving the gun show with a plastic white shopping bag.
"Man, I had a lot to choose from. But I found me something. I think I'm going to like it," says Larry.
He decided to buy a 9-millimeter pistol. It took him about a half-hour to find and purchase it. And how does he feel owning his first gun?
"Well, I feel safer. You never know what you'll run into it," says Larry. "And plus I be on the road a lot. Have a breakdown and don't have no kind of protection. People just take over you. So now I feel better. At least I can protect myself."
If Bob the retired veteran had his way, Larry would have to go through training before he could get a permit. However, Trump's presidential victory makes it likely that no new restrictions will be signed into law.