I’ve recently helped a friend set up at the local gun show.
Of course I brought along a camera and I thought I’d share a little behind the scenes
I’d also like to address some concerns that arise when talking about gun shows
I’ve been a big fan of gun shows all my life. I started going as a kid with my dad and haven’t missed many shows since then, I even try to attend gun shows when I travel if possible.
So it’s always discouraging to hear a fellow shooter or firearms enthusiast complain about gun shows. I hope I can offer a few reasons why you may want to attend the next gun show in your area.
First let’s explain what a gun show is for anyone who is not clear. They are basically swap meets or flea markets that concentrate on firearms and their accessories.
One common complaint about gun shows is the other items besides firearms that show up sometimes.
Thinking about it from the promoters point of view, they need to find the public venue to hold the show, arrange for vendors to come and sell, provide security, tables, insurance and all the behind the scenes work involved with an event like this.
So if a show doesn’t bring in a lot of people to buy, it will attract fewer vendors to sell, then fewer vendors attract less people and you can see the downward spiral.
Of course the bills for the promoter are the same no matter how many vendors or people show up to buy. So the promoters find it necessary to sell the tables to non gun related vendors and that’s why we see scented candles and remote controlled helicopters sometimes. While these products might entertain some, they are easy enough to ignore
Of course, it works the other way too. Higher attendance attracts more vendors which bring more people and so on
So what makes a gun show unique? I mentioned it’s like a swap meet or flea market however, shows are much more than that, since they are federally recognized events for the commerce in firearms
Since the 1968 Gun Control Act, which created the FFL system of licensing gun shops manufacturers in gunsmiths, licensed gun shops who do business in firearms are only able to sell at their location which is why we don’t see door to door gun sales . However in the FFL licensing it states that the gun shops can sell at official gun shows.
And for this reason gun shows can offer a unique opportunity to the firearms community, and one of the reasons why gun shows are the target of many anti freedom types and anti gun organizations
Another common complaint is prices at gun shows. Now, I am not rich and I like a bargain as well as the next guy, however I also live in a free market and understand supply and demand.
Having a lot of firearms dealers in a single location can create a competitive pricing environment but it is not guaranteed to be.
So people with a very low price point in mind may not find what they’re looking for at every gun show. The convenience of having an item immediately almost always demands a premium. If the person next to you is willing to spend an extra 50 dollars to bring a gun home that afternoon… well, in this country that’s what will happen
However I have found many great deals on both used items and hard to find collectables. And those purchases have made every dollar I’ve spent on admission prices well worth it
Unfortunately, it seems a lot of people only think of gun shows as a place to buy and sell when they can be, and many times are, much more than that
Since I am much older than the internet, I remember when gun shows were also a place for those in the firearms community to gather and discuss issues of the day, very much like we use our online communities today
At some gun shows you might find political candidates reaching out to firearms owners, local and state level pro guns pro rights organizations and even one to one conversation with other gun owners. There is so much talk of preparing for emergencies and many people include making contacts in their community as part of that preparation what better place than a gun show to find those like minded individuals?
I know some people will never be swayed by points like these but I hope there are some open minded types who might find one of these reasons enough to prompt them to attend the next show in their area
When you go to a gun show I urge you to take more than a simple walk through the isles. Enjoy your time there, talk to people, listen to stories, take the time to look through that “Everything is $5 box” or pile of surplus items, you’ll never know what treasures you might find