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Mixed Reaction to Another Year of Gun-Free Zone at Iowa State Fair

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Monday's announcement from Governor Branstad that the Iowa State Fair, just like in years past, will be a gun-free zone has drawn a mixed response from fairgoers.

"I don`t like gun-free zones," said Gary Wabshaw. "I believe it`s an invitation for target practice for the people who aren`t going to follow the law. I don`t feel safe in theaters now like I used to."

By the same token, others say allowing people to carry could be just as worrisome.

“If I saw someone walking around with a gun on their hip and they were drinking and not being responsible then I would feel very unsafe, especially with my family sitting right next to me and all that stuff," said Delaney Caroll. "But I would be ok if it was a spectator that was being responsible and doing the right thing."

Since the 80's, the state fairgrounds have been a gun-free zone.

Hundreds of officers made up of the state patrol, Des Moines police, and the county sheriff's office will be patrolling the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Recent incidents like Orlando or Dallas serve as a reminder to make safety a priority.

“We`re not naive enough to think that those events are not happening throughout the world, and so that makes us concentrate even harder about our safety plan here,” said Iowa State Fair CEO, Gary Slater.

Jennifer Castle has worked as a state fair vendor for 15 years and says regardless of the rule, she feels good.

“I think there will probably still be people carrying out here, that`s a reality, but I feel safe. Every year I feel safe,” said Castle.

The Iowa Firearms Coalition also weighed in, releasing a statement that reads in part:

A violent mob such as the one that tore its way through the fairgrounds in 2010 can quickly tie-up and overwhelm law enforcement resources assigned to the fairgrounds. Until the organizers of the Iowa State Fair can guarantee the safety of each of their one million-plus, they need to discontinue their ban on the lawful carry of defensive firearms.

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