EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — The organizer of a weekend gun show scheduled at an arena north of Seattle has postponed the event after public concerns that several Everett Public Schools graduations were set to happen in the building at the same time.
“We don’t want students’ memory of graduation to be that of controversy,” said Craig Terry, owner of Big Top Promotions, the company behind the event at Angel of the Winds Arena.
Nobody asked his company to change the dates of their event, Terry told The Daily Herald. The company chose to move the event “out of the potential for bad optics and conflict,” Terry said. The two-day gun show was scheduled to begin Saturday but will now start Sunday.
The Everett school district sent an email Wednesday to families about the adjacent gun show, and many parents voiced their concerns on social media.
State Rep. April Berg, whose daughter will graduate Saturday, said when she opened the district email she said she felt like she had to read the message a few times before it set in.
Graduates have “gone through 12 years of active shooter drills in school,” Berg, a Democrat from Mill Creek, said. “And it’s this flagrant display of: Guess what, you’ve gone through all that, you’re crossing the finish line and here’s a gun show.”
The country is still reeling from the second-deadliest school shooting on record at a Texas elementary school three weeks ago.
Leaders of the Everett Public Schools learned of the show this week and said they book the venue years in advance for graduations. Terry said he booked the event space about a year ago.
Angel of the Winds spokesperson Kat Gruenet said the company “appreciates everyone's assistance and all the organizers working together to come up with the best solution.”
Gruenet did not elaborate on their booking process and whether events are typically communicated to groups that book the space on the same dates.