I've never been a gun owner.
I've been exposed to guns. I've shot guns. I just never felt threatened enough to feel the need to own guns.
But last year I inherited a few guns after my dad and uncle died. All of a sudden I went from never having owned any guns ever, to owning a 30.06 hunting rifle, a pump action 12 gauge shotgun, and a Colt. 45 Single Action cowboy six shooter in a tooled leather holster.
After adjusting to this change, it occurred to me that if I was going to be a gun owner, I needed to round out my "collection" with a semi-automatic pistol. I was thinking of a 1911 .45 caliber pistol like Captain America,
and The Comedian carried.
My inner nerd could justify a 1911 .45.
I know that the military and law enforcement communities replaced the 1911 .45 with Glock 9mm many years ago so I briefly considered the Glock. But everything that makes the Glock so appealing to professionals who know what they are doing (no complcated "safety" features, light trigger pull, etc...) make it a really fucking dangerous gun for an idiot like me to own. So no Glock for me!
As it happens, there was a fortuitous confluence of my federal tax return and an RK Gun Show this weekend. So I thought I would peel off about $500 and maybe round out my new collection.
I have even been considering going balls to the wall and getting a Concealed Carry permit for the new pistol.
Some of my photo safaris find me in either sketchy urban areas or very remote wilderness areas. Both of which could pose a threat.
I was also intrigued by the whole "gun show" thing and all of this talk about the "gun show loophole" where people could buy and sell firearms all willy-nilly without any regulations or background checks.
So I went to my first ever gun show expecting some wild west frontier mart where cash and guns were being passed back and forth between buyers and sellers with nary a question asked or a record being kept.
That was not the case AT ALL.
This gun show boasted "1000 tables". It was HUGE! The parking was out of control! People parked in the medians between lanes, on the street, on any grassy or muddy surface any where near the KCI Expo Center. It was insane! I have never, ever, seen anything like that.
As I was walking to the Expo Center, it was a bit surreal to see people walking back to their cars openly carrying rifles, swords and ammo boxes.
But once I got inside I found a bunch of federally licensed gun dealers selling fire arms according to the law.
Every single one of them had paperwork that needed to be completed and they were on their phones and on their computers doing their due diligence just like they would if they were selling guns at their gun shops. There was no difference.
The only "gun show loophole" I saw was with the extremely small, hand full of individuals there selling their own guns. There were maybe a dozen of them, tops. They had no tables. Half of them were wandering the floor with rifles strapped over their shoulders (which had been "safed" by two KCPD officers working the lobby) with handwritten "For Sale" signs taped to the barrels. The others were working the entrance to the gun show. None of them had more than 1 or 2 guns for sale.
So out of the THOUSANDS of guns available at the gun show that followed the exact same guidelines as a gun you would buy at any gun retailer, there were maybe 24 guns available from 12 people that could be had "under the radar".
I was a bit overwhelmed by the ADHD induced by the environment. So many people, so many guns, so many swords and knives! It was hard o navigate the crowd and even harder to get close to and examine the guns on display.
The people watching was pretty amazing. Imagine yourself at an event as crowded as the Kansas City Home and Garden Expo or the World of Wheels show. That tightly packed with people you don't know. But with many of them openly carrying and handling firearms and extremely sharp bladed weapons.
It was also interesting to overhear little snippets of conversation. "...that's always their first question: 'Why do you need an AR? Well..."; "...it's a very interesting movie. It tells you who his REAL father is."
It was a very interesting experience. I wound up not buying anything, I was too overwhelmed by the environment and, quite frankly, I couldn't justify the expense. Plus, since the Gun Show seemed to be just a lot of licensed dealers in one place, it seems like shopping for a gun would be easier, calmer and less stressful to just visit those dealers at the store.
I left after about an hour of wandering around, a bit chagrined at having by liberal preconceptions shattered and somewhat better informed. It was $10 well spent.