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Kentucky fair officials to propose ban on 'items of hate' after Nazi, KKK memorabilia sold at gun show

The Hill logo The Hill 11/1/2018 Avery Anapol

a close up of a mans face: Kentucky fair officials to propose ban on 'items of hate' after Nazi, KKK memorabilia sold at gun show © The Hill Kentucky fair officials to propose ban on 'items of hate' after Nazi, KKK memorabilia sold at gun show Kentucky State Fair officials are calling for a policy change after Nazi and KKK memorabilia was sold by a vendor at a gun show held this month at the state's expo center.

Mark Lynn, chair of the Kentucky State Fair Board, told the Louisville Courier Journal that he was "horrified" to learn that the items were being sold.

"Immediately I was horrified, I had no idea that was being sold," Lynn told the paper. "It's disappointing and frustrating. I'm one to stand up for freedoms, but this is just common sense."

At an upcoming "emergency meeting," Lynn is planning to propose stricter guidelines for vendors and exhibitors that would ban specific "items of hate" for sale at future expo center events.

Some of the items sold at the National Gun Day's annual firearm show included an authentic KKK robe, Christmas ornaments featuring swastikas and other clothing items with Nazi imagery, according to the Courier Journal.

Kentucky Venues, which operates the expo center, currently does not have oversight over most of the events that lease the space, the paper reported. The group has an overarching policy, established in 2015, that bans the sale or distribution of Confederate flags. At least one Confederate flag was on display at the gun show, according to the Courier Journal.

The items sold at the gun show prompted backlash on social media, with at least 30 people leaving negative reviews on the expo center's Facebook page.

Walter Kanzler, one of the vendors who had Nazi memorabilia on display, told the Courier Journal that the items were not "political statements" but historical collectibles.

"I don't want to suppress history," Kanzler said. "They are original, I have no interest in political statements. I'm not into hate or anything like that. These things are a part of history."

The display of the controversial items came just days after two black patrons were shot and killed in a Louisville grocery store in an attack that is being investigated as a hate crime.

The gun show also occurred the same weekend that 11 people were killed in a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in what is believed to be the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.

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