On October 29, 2018, a gunman opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue, leaving 11 people dead and six others wounded.
A little over six months later, on May 17, 2019, the weekend-long Concealed Carry Expo will open at a Pittsburgh convention center.
“All responsibly armed Americans welcome,” reads the website for the gun show, which is being presented by the US Concealed Carry Association (USCCA).
Attendees are invited to:
- Sharpen Your Shooting Skills At The FREE Live Fire Range & Reality Based Training Center
- Arm Yourself With Training Courses, Classes, And Educational Tools
- Test Out Women-Specific Carry Options In The Women’s Concealed Carry Showroom
It might seem surprising that Pittsburgh would welcome the expo in light of the shooting. Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto has called for stricter gun laws in recent weeks and rejected president Donald Trump’s idea to place armed guards in houses of worship. Scott Schubert, Pittsburgh’s chief of police, has spoken out against expanding concealed carry laws. And local leaders have been vocal in their support for keeping guns out of the city.
However, a USCCA phone rep said the organization has not yet seen any opposition to the upcoming Concealed Carry Expo.
“I know we don’t have any issues with Pittsburgh at all, they’re happy to have us,” the rep, who gave his name as Brandon, told Quartz.
The Pittsburgh shooter used four guns to commit the atrocity: an AR-15 SP1 assault rifle, which is made by Colt, and three Glock .357 handguns. Neither manufacturer is on the list of exhibitors currently confirmed to be at the Concealed Carry Expo. Gunmakers Sig Sauer, Walther Arms, and Ruger are scheduled to be there; a representative who answered the phone at USCCA headquarters in West Bend, Wisconsin said more companies will almost certainly be added between now and May.
In an email, a USCCA spokesperson said the organization “is fundamentally about training and self-protection,” and noted that its new online training event—posted to YouTube on Nov. 6—is focused on protecting houses of worship.
The USCCA spokesman also pointed out that nearly half of its members “are Democrats so this isn’t a partisan issue for them.” He said the expo is expected to draw over 14,000 people.
Membership in the USCCA runs from $297-$497 per year and includes access to dozens of training videos, monthly “Ask An Attorney” webinars, and a subscription to Concealed Carry magazine, published eight times a year. The organization’s name sounds like a quasi-official entity, but the USCCA makes clear on its website that it is strictly independent:
Admission to the Concealed Carry Expo will cost $14.97 for non-members; it’s free for kids under 18.