Sunday, February 17, 2013

My First Gun Show

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,

The Phantom

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..."; "'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.


Nick said...

You're probably better off w/o the .45ACP: I can personally testify that it is the most ungainly hand weapon with with which to consistently and accurately hit anything over 20 yards.

Don’t get me wrong; it can be done. But it takes a shit-pile of practice…and if Uncle Sam ain’t paying for the ammo the costs can quickly add up.

The up-side is that if you hit a person with a .45 it nearly guaranteed to neutralize any threat they might present.

Great weapon, but at your age you're probably better off with one of the "chick guns"...say, a Glock 19.

Keith Sader said...

Did you tell them the Feds were coming to take all of their guns? That might have been a fun crowd :-)

Glad you got yourself all educated for $10. In my opinion closing the 'gun-show' loophole will probably be mostly theater.

Noble Rot said...

Wait, so you're telling me that reality doesn't match the politically driven stereotype of mindless partisans?

Huh? Whodda thunk?

"The D" said...

Umm, FYI, The Marine Corps doesn't carry the Glock 9mm we carried the Beretta 9mm officially know as the M9 Beretta.

I don't know about the other branches.

If you insist on keeping and expanding on your gun collection, you need to take a safety class, learn how to become a responsible owner. I don't want to hear about you shooting yourself while attempting to clean it.

You'd be surprised to know how many people THINK they are responsible owners but have never taken a safety class.

Xavier Onassis said...

The D - Don't worry my friend. I don't have a single round of ammo for any of them and my Rule is that I won't by any ammo until I have taken a safety class.

Joe said...

I agree with Nick. I had a really nice 1911 and couldn't hit anything with it. Now I'm a terrible shot in general, but still.
I've fired my dad's Glock 19 and hit the paper targets much better.

I Travel for JOOLS said...

I think I must have accidentally stumbled onto the wrong

I Travel for JOOLS said...

I think I must have accidentally stumbled onto the wrong

Dan said...

Does anybody remember when the newspaper could fill this function - actually going out and reporting on the reality of our world? But now, honestly, had the Star produced this exact same article, I would have thought that they were pushing a pro-gun agenda, because my faith in them and their competency is so low. But when you write it, I think, "Hey, maybe the gun-show loophole" really is a red herring".