Tourism taxes to promote gun and outdoor show event

No gun sales included in gun show


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4Jax has learned some of the monies earned from the city’s tourism taxes will be used to promote a gun show.

The show is scheduled for the convention center next July and is actually a shooting and outdoor event.

The city council will soon vote on whether to use bed tax money to fund improvements at the stadium, however this proposed appropriation for a gun show is a new development.

Approximately $150,000 will go towards advertising the event to attract people outside of the Jacksonville area. The event will not include gun sales, but will promote guns and new products form manufacturers.

Jon McGowan, the event’s organizer, says the event is much more than a gun show. “It’s a way for the city to promote itself and it’s a way for Jacksonville to bring in more business and tourists,” McGowan said.

Other outdoor activities planned for the show involve sports like fishing, hunting and camping.

“Twenty-five percent of the exhibitors at the convention would be gun manufacturers like Glock and Taurus International,” McGowan said. “The rest of the exhibitors will be related to boating, knives and camping.”

With the debate about guns in the national forefront, city council president, Greg Anderson, who heads up the tourist development commission, was contacted to speak on if this was an appropriate way to spend bed tax dollars. Anderson was not reached for comment.

Bed taxes are levies imposed by local government on hotel stays within its jurisdiction.  

Bed tax money goes to a number of types of events like concerts, for example the country superfest. It also goes to sporting events like soccer games; and to facilities, like the scoreboards at the stadium, and more than likely will help fund the new amphitheater and stadium improvements.

McGowan expressed the event will promote tourism in Jacksonville. “The city is not supporting guns. The city is supporting outdoor industries,” said McGowan. “The idea of bringing in people and helping to grow the city; get more people in our hotels and really grow the outdoor industry in Jacksonville.”

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