CINCINNATI — Gun shows happen all the time in Florence, but residents in Avondale are frustrated with how this weekend’s event was advertised in their neighborhood across the river.
On a busy street like Martin Luther King Jr. Drive near Reading Road, you’re bound to see a sign or two advertising a business or an event. Community members are upset that this wave of signs was placed in a neighborhood plagued with gun violence.
"When I first saw it I was like, ‘Well, here we go again,’" said Mitchell Morris from Cincinnati Works Phoenix Program.
Several red and yellow signs promoting a gun show this weekend in Florence, Kentucky, were plastered along the road. Morris said it isn't needed right now in Avondale.
“You know, when you got nine-year-old kids getting hit,” Morris said. “No, it's too serious to play with, you know, it's all hands on deck right now. Yes, sure, people gonna do what they do to make money, you know, but we got to educate ourselves and educate our kids that just because you see that sign don’t mean you got to go there and buy guns.”
The group managing the gun show, which is based in Tennessee, told WCPO they researched high traffic areas for the best places to put their signs.
Pastor Ennis Tate said it’s not exactly the gun show that's the problem, but the messaging in a community that is trying to fight gun violence.
“But when it really comes to guns, you know, the people that are in our communities, they don't go to gun shows, they don't, they don't get their weapons from gun shows, because one, the restrictions, and then two, the complications, the background checks and things of that nature. So we were trying to deal with the broader issue. We don't necessarily support gun shows, but we are opposing to them,” Tait said.
Tait and other advocates for the community call themselves gatekeepers and will often remove signage or messages that don't align with what the community is fighting for.
"Anytime you're wrestling with something like gun violence, we don't want things that invite people to do things or go places that are going to bring them back into our community, so you may see a sign pop up in Avondale, but it may not stay on the ground long,” Tait said.