The line at the gun show at the York Fairgrounds stretched more than half a mile in four different directions Saturday, and exhibitors were on their feet again Sunday as crowds continued to fill Memorial Hall East.

About 10,000 people attended the gun show, said John Lamplugh, owner of Appalachian Promotions Inc., the event's promoter.

Attendance at the gun show at the fairgrounds in December was about 12,000 - up from the crowds of 5,000 to 6,000 people the gun shows used to bring, said Lamplugh.

With talk swirling about increasing gun control, business has been booming for almost everyone in the firearms industry.

"If you tell Americans they can't have it, they want it 10 times as bad," Lamplugh said.

Gun shows in York County draw a lot of Maryland residents, as laws are already stricter in Maryland and prices are usually better in Pennsylvania, he said.

Dave Zeller, of Zeller's Sporting Goods, has been in business for nearly 10 years and said that "it's the busiest it's ever been."

Business picked up when President Obama was first elected, and again at his re-election in November, and Zeller said things have been increasingly steady since December, when gun control became a hot topic after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

"The gun shows have bigger crowds," he said. "More and more people are coming out and exercising their Second Amendment rights."

Whenever a right is being threatened, people will begin to exercise that right even more, Zeller said.

Zeller sells firearms and accessories, including the currently popular AR-15's, a semi-automatic rifle that he says has been mistakenly categorized by members of the government and the media as an assault weapon.

The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle, while assault weapons are fully automatic, he said.

Many people remain concerned over a potential federal ban on so-called assault weapons and President Obama's other proposals regarding gun control, which Zeller believes will do little to help the real issue.

"Criminals by definition do not follow the law," he said, adding that stricter laws will only lead to more violence and be nothing more than an infringement upon people's rights.

After the federal assault weapons ban from 1994 to 2004, the FBI reported that the ban did nothing to reduce the amount of violent crime in the nation, Zeller said.

"We should enforce the laws that we already have," he said.

Conversations about mental health are much more relevant than the conversations about gun control, Zeller said.

Mark Hostetter, owner of Precision Firearms in Avenue, Md., said he had already been anticipating stricter gun control laws based on the rhetoric of the Obama administration.

"You cannot legislate criminals into right behavior," Hostetter said.

Supply has been an issue for Hostetter for the past few years, because he works with higher end products.

It was only within the past few months that it became nearly impossible to get certain products, he said.

Because Hostetter's store has a high volume of business, he does not have as much trouble ordering products as smaller shops may.

Gene Huber, a firearms broker from West Chester, said that he specializes in .22's but has been sold out since mid-January.

"The distributors say it will be six to eight weeks, but am I holding my breath? No," Huber said.

"They just can't make them fast enough," he said.

- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or cshank@yorkdispatch.com