Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gun Show Goodness

Having read about Matt Snyder's gun show experience, it was a great weekend to go and see some of his "preconceptions" at the local gun show. I got permission from my wife (yes, she is in charge), called up a friend and we headed on over.

"An unspoken etiquette seems to dictate that vendors don't initiate conversation until a prospective buyer pauses for at least 10 seconds at a given display." Well, actually I think this is more a case of personality. There were some vendors there who barely said a word even when you talked with them. On the other hand, one of my favorite vendors (who I have yet to buy anything from) was his normal gregarious self and was able to spout off facts about any firearm that he saw someone touch or even take a second look at. When I first met him, it was a little nerve racking, I am the type of person who likes to shop without being bothered by salesmen until I have a question. Now it is always fun to spend a few minutes and watch his table while he talks nearly non-stop, carrying on three or four conversations at a time.

"This place is crawling with cops." Well, I saw three cops. One at the door, and two wandering around. Hardly what I would consider crawling. Of course there is something about thinking of committing a crime in a place where the person to gun ration is around 1:100 that just screams insanity.

"Nazi-themed tomes, for whatever reason, seem particularly popular." I'll be perfectly honest, I don't go to gun shows to look at books. I go to look at guns (and ammunition). At this particular gun show, there were probably three tables that had "Nazi-themed" anything. Mainly militaria. Of course, there was also Russian militaria, Japanese militaria, and don't forget those dastardly Yankee militaria at the same tables. Some people happen to like militaria, just because the swastika is a very noticeable symbol doesn't mean everyone who collects it subscribes to those philosophies. I have some South American coins, but you don't see me participating in a revolution every six months now do you?

"This is not the venue for selling machine guns." OK, anyone who has been to a gun show knows this. Only anti-gun groups still believe that the Mexican drug lords are arming themselves at US gun shows. While I was there, I didn't see a single machine gun, no live grenades (some dummies though), and rocket launchers had already sold out. As to why people like to bring up the $200 tax for buying machine guns, I don't know. This is one time when not indexing for inflation has been good (granted it would be better if there was no tax or registration).

"The clich├ęd caricature of the "gun nut" is not only white, but aggressively white." This is something I honestly haven't paid attention to before, so I thought I would look. Well suprisingly there were people of all races there. Now, I must say that the vast majority (95%) were white, but then again, where I live (and coincidentally where Mr. Snyder went to his gun show), the vast majority of people (98%) are white.

"... gun and knife shows are the male equivalent of window-shopping for shoes." Oh yeah, I can agree with this wholeheartedly. Since they have driven guns out of the shopping malls of America, we are forced to get our shopping fix at gun shows. It would be much better to bring firearms sales back into JC Penny and Sears. Put it right between the Jewelry counter and the Cosmetics Counter. Across from the Womens Clothing. That way, we could go in, do our browsing and still have our wife's in somewhat close proximity if we needed the checkbook.

"Six days, three gun shows, and 19 attempts to buy handguns sans permit had yielded zero sales." Yeah, in some states they have a "Permit to Purchase" for handguns (or long guns in the really unfree states). I haven't come across a dealer yet who would sell you a handgun without a purchase permit. So much for gang bangers coming in and buying whatever they want.

Basically, Mr. Snyder is mostly wrong. But I still had a successful day. My friend came out of the bathroom at lunchtime and said to me, "Isn't the gun show great. You can go to the bathroom and there is a guy cleaning a sword in the sink." Sword, as in three foot blade designed to cleave people in half. And nobody minds at all.

I had gone to this show with the goal of getting a youth rifle for my kids. I taught my oldest to shoot at Thanksgiving and needed to get something that was more in her size. In the past, there were usually three or four vendors that had Crickett rifles. During my first stroll around the place, I couldn't find any. During the second stroll I finally found one. It was the black synthetic stock, and was priced a little more (OK, a lot more) than I wanted to pay. As I started walking further down the table the father behind me said to his son, "We should sell our Crickett sometime."

I turned immediately and asked if I heard him right. Yes, they had a Crickett that their son didn't use. So one of the greatest freedom's of all (the private commerce of firearms) commenced. What price? How old? I'm willing to buy. Well, I just live a few minutes away, let me go home and get it. Done.

Thirty minutes later, the gunshow loophole was fully utilized as the father and his son handed over a high powered, bolt action sniper rifle, with a powerful scope, with the minimum length barrel the law allowed for greater concealability, all so that I could indoctrinate my kids in murder and mayhem (Can't you just hear Sarah and Josh crying their eyes out?). I in turn handed him four bills coated with evidence of the drug trade.

OK, so it was just a .22 Crickett with a 4X scope. And 80-90% of American bills have trace amounts of cocaine or other drugs on them. But, no papers were filled out, no drivers licenses shown, just two free people happy to do business. They sold a rifle no longer in use. And I gained something that my kids will use for a decade or more. Both of us were happy with the transaction. That is how America should work.

Oh yeah, I put the rifle in the trunk of my car with enough ammunition to take over a small Central American country. God bless America!

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