My brother and I visited the Akron gun show yesterday, Saturday, February 6th; a sort-of fairly regular ritual for the two of us retirees.
At such events we pluck down one buck to park our car – almost always my Jeep – and each pay our respective $6 admission fee. Every now and then Rich will spring for my ticket as well, though not as frequently as I’d like.
Attendance at such events may include one of us (very occasionally) selling a firearm, (even less occasionally) buying a firearm, or (much more frequently) stocking up on some shooting do-dad or gun-related tool.
Since I have a federal Curio and Relic license I have bought a couple of inexpensive old-timey and ex-military weapons that are chambered for hard-to-find caliber ammunition. Sometimes I can locate a decent deal on ammunition for my Polish Mokarov-wanna-be or my Romanian Tokarev.
Such pricing needs to beat what can be found on-line at a score of sites that sell ammunition. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t, but just the act of looking through ammunition display racks of the weird, unusual, obsolete and new calibers is itself a cool way to spend a few hours on a Sunday.
In some respects for gun cranks on the order of Rich and me its comparable to what some women see in visiting shoe stores and arguing over whether to buy pumps or high heels. Or so I’ve been told.
Anyway, Rich and I arrived late in morning, operating under the assumption that the gun show’s early morning crowd would have seen it all and that the Summit County Fairgrounds' parking lot would have begun to lose cars and gain parking spaces.
We were wrong. Ho, boy, were we ever, as I deposited Rich near the front entrance while I continued to cruise the parking lot in a hunt for a reasonably close place to stash my Jeep.
When we departed at 2 p.m. there still was a long line of attendees waiting to get in, each to pay their $6 each admission fee and then tour the displays of guns, ammo, knives and aged military bric-a-brac for sale.
Such a long line of eager attendees appearing some two or three hours before the show closed for the day is not only unusual, it is unheard of. Much credit is being given to that best of gun salesman, President Obama.
I’m not entirely sure of that, however. Gun shows have always proven to be popular with a lot of firearms enthusiasts; a slice of Americana that I doubt exists in such a form and format anywhere else in the world. Maybe having such an Anti-Second Amendment sort of guy for president is just another excuse we gun cranks use in order to saddle up and head for the big show.
Anyway, Rich went his direction once inside and I went another, me spending time looking over largely the older stuff, and giving just the slightest and cursory look at the AR-platform rifles that seem in congregate in dealer clumps here and there.
By no means do these purveyors of such firearms dominate gun shows; not the ones Rich and I attend, anyway.
Yes, we do see what legitimately could be said sellers who obviously don’t pocess a federal firearms license. They’re the ones that have a hand-drawn placard that says something to the effect they’re liquidating at least a portion of their firearms inventory.
The firearms that these sellers put out have always seemed to me to be grouped into two two types: Owners of the expensive collectables like Lugers, Winchester Model 12 shotguns, and M1 Garands with a smattering of British Enfields, Russian Mosens, and American Springfields.
The other type also has left me with an impression, that being, they are asking way too much for their handguns, rifles and shotguns, operating under the false assumption that what is valuable to them as family heirlooms must be worth a pretty penny; even when they are not, however.
Oh, and outside there was the so-called "gun show loophole" crowd; gun owners trying to get the attention of passer-bys to at least look at their respective 19th Century Trapdoor Springfield buffalo rifles, well-worm Remington and Mossberg hunting shotguns and assorted other odds and ends of the sporting and surplus military arms world.
Not a single assault rifle, grenade launcher, or multi-purpose combat support aircraft was to be seen, either.
Yes, gun shows get a bum rap; typically by those individuals who have never been to many or even one. Their only mental image is formed by those who simply don’t like guns and believe that the government ought to be the final arbitrator of who gets to own what and for what purpose.
Thanks, but that’s not my game plan when I visit a gun show. I pay my six bucks, maybe buy some normally hard-to-find ammunition, and inspect a hardly used camouflaged Mossberg semi-automatic shotgun that would go nicely with a ground hunting blind.
If there is evil in this world – and I surely do believe there is – it exists in no larger measure at a gun show than it does anywhere else. I just wish the Anti-Second Amendment crowd would come to understand that truism instead of opining on a subject it really knows so little about.
Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.