View Full Version : Gun Shows

06-19-2007, 04:58 AM
Anyone ever been to a gun show? My MC pays a visit to one but having never been I thought I'd tap into the experts here (and yes, when I find time I will go myself).

So, what (if anything) do they charge for entry? Who displays their wares? Is it just guns, or also knives, howitzers, ray-guns, etc...?! Any funny anecdotes I can appropriate?

Many thanks... Mark

06-19-2007, 05:17 AM
Hi Mark - I've been to quite a few gun shows. The Ohio Gun Collectors Association (OGCA) used to be one of the largest ones in the world (may still be). When we went (and actually exhibited a couple times), the shows were held in a very large auditorium in downtown Columbus, Ohio. The show filled the exhibition space of the auditorium to overflowing. There was no admission to the show but people who came to look had to be members of OGCA or a guest of a member. Exhibitors were charged a rental fee for each table they wanted (standard 2&1/2' x 5' tables).

It was really a weird feeling the first time we went to see people walking around carrying all types of firearms and other weapons to hopefully sell to a dealer at a table or that they had just bought. One of the interesting people was a dealer from France who flew over for every show. His objective was to buy French weapons that had been here since the Revolutionary War or earlier.

There was a wide variety of guns displayed - matchlock and wheel lock pieces, dueling pistols, Brown Besses from the Revolution and Brown Besses that had been cut down for foraging guns during the Civil War, cap and ball pistols, Winchesters and Colts from the wild west, German Lugers, and of course, the full array of normal guns you'd see at a gun store but some of them so ornate all you could do was let your mouth drop in awe. (I remember one over/under shotgun in particular).

And yes, there was some other stuff - custom made knives, Civil War uniforms, German helmet insignia, medals, many displays of books and other literature, powder horns, antlers for making knife handles, fancy wood pieces for making stocks, bullet moulds, re-loading equipment, etc. etc.

One of the funniest (to me) memories I have of the show is of minding our table while my husband was out drooling. Did you know that men who go to gun shows have the most ornate and interesting belt buckles you can imagine? (And of course, that's what was at eye level when I was sitting behind the table.) It was a lot of fun and very educational (at least to me who asked a lot of questions.) Puma

06-19-2007, 10:10 AM
Cincinnati's Gun and Knife show drew more money than any other convention at the Convention Center...least that's what I was told by several people. Not wanting to be a part of violence, Cincinnati turned the show away. Funny, this place has become a lot more violent since then. Not saying it's related at all, but I will say that a gun and knife show hardly draws the violent type.

I visited the show after they had moved to a place north of Cincinnati. It wasn't as big, but it was still interesting.

There's all the stuff that Puma talked about. And a lot of people bring their stuff just to have a conversational piece. They also sometimes hope to wheel and deal with the other visitors...the dealers aren't the only ones doing business there.

I'd say the the majority of people there are upper/middle class. Most of them wearing jeans. And yes, you see a lot of big buckles the way you might at a rodeo.

06-19-2007, 06:55 PM
Wait, so the people wandering the floors, as well as those behind tables, are selling stuff? I had assumed it was just buyers coming to view the wares of the sellers. Am I wrong?

And do they sell stuff like T-shirts, clothing of other types (camo?) and other goodies? Martial arts stuff?

Thanks for all the help!

Soccer Mom
06-19-2007, 08:13 PM
They sell all kinds of things. Guns, knives, books, clothing. Yeah, you see guys in camo wandering around toting guns, etc. It's a little surreal. Here in FW we get a mixed bag. You see the Republic of Texas nuts standing next to guys in navy pinstripe.

Silliest gun show memory: FW used to host the America's Cup--an International Gymnastics meet. My sis and I went to see Kim Zemeskal and Svetlana Bordanskya (which if you know anything about gymnastics tells you it was back a while ago). We had no idea the gun show was the same weekend. We parked and got out and almost dove under our car as a man strolled up in camo and ZZ Top beard with a rifle slung over his shoulder. He just wanted directions. But it was all in the FW convention center. Seeing the two crowds mix was surreal. Little girls in pink sweats with ponytails and big men in survival gear with ponytails. Wild.

06-19-2007, 09:00 PM
I've been to one gun show...I pretty much hated it. (I was young.) As I recal, it wasn't specifically a gun show, but more of a Dicks-Sporting-Goods NRA Bass-Pro-Shops jumble. There were guns, of course, camo, fishing gear, hunting gear, stuff for fly-fisherman and stuff for guys that hunt with bows, knives, canoes, white-water rafting gear, on and on. There were also a few unrelated tables--ones that sell touch lamps, one guy with this stand on tools to peel vegtables into cool shapes, a spot with mounted animal heads. My favorite stand of all was this huge thing with a row of real hawks/owls. They wore the leather leg tethers and sat on posts in a roped off area. Every half hour, a trainer would come out, pick one up, and start talking about it.
That was really cool. The rest was bleh. But I was like 8, maybe 9.
*side-note: it was in the mall, a special event thingy. so maybe it wasn't a gun show.

06-19-2007, 11:02 PM
I went to 1 gun show held in a big convention center. They sold everything from leather goods to camo jackets. Display cases held guns, knives, fancy carved knives, biker-type gear, jewelry, and guns. There was popcorn, candy, food, and soft drinks. It was really just like any other type of show (bridal, doll, home improvement, etc.)

06-20-2007, 03:27 AM
At the gun show I went to, they made everyone declare, upon entering, whether they had a gun or not (like most states, mine allows concealed carry if you have a permit), and if you had one, you had to disable it. They opened the cylinder (on revolvers) or the slide (on pistols) and ran some kind of thick plastic tie through it so it couldn't fire. I thought it was kind of funny that A GUN SHOW would make people disable their guns.

06-20-2007, 04:12 AM
The OGCA shows had restrictions on what could be sold. Everything had to be firearms related so no num-chucks, camping gear, clothes (except the historic uniforms), jewelry, etc. (Of course that raises a question about the knives that were there and there were knives - maybe an extension from cutting patches for black powder). Anyway, to me there's a big difference between a gun show and an outdoors show. Puma

Cav Guy
06-20-2007, 05:25 PM
Out here you'll see knives, old trapper-style leather goods, military surplus (foreign camo, packs, and so on), and guns of just about every description and price range. You don't see full-auto stuff or anything else that requires a Class III license, but you do see some of the SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) type stuff (gunbelts, some cowboy-type gear). Typically there's a change of about $5-10 per person to get in, and the show runs for two days or so.

06-20-2007, 06:12 PM
I've been to a few gun show, but it looks like you've got all the answers you need.

Here's a funny story. I went to a large gun show one time. Lots of tables. Someone had racked a number of old rifles along one side of his tables (from the 1800s and early 1900s); maybe two dozen of them. Someone knocked one gun over . . . which knocked all the others over like dominoes. Quite a clatter. You could have heard a pin drop for a few moments afterward.