My first gun show and what I learned

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When I was six I had a bb gun. I am thinking it actually belonged to one of my brothers but somehow I got a hold of it and used it a couple of times until my mother told me to stop shooting at the guests. I thought it was kind of funny to shoot at their feet. When I was nine I went to summer camp and learned to shoot a rifle at a target. I earned badges and certificates. I liked target practice but I never thought of owning a gun. As I got older I was never a gun person. Guns were weapons used to kill.

A friend of mine collects guns and has been looking for a Mosin-Nagant, a bolt action, internal magazine, military rifle developed by the Imperial Russian Army in the late 1800’s. These rifles were produced and used all the way through World War II and beyond. They stopped production sometime after World War II but were kept as reserve stockpiles and for front line infantry. Every country that received military aid from the Soviet Union and Russia has used the Mosin-Nagant, including Iraq and Afghanistan. They were eventually replaced by the AK series.

The M1891/30 design was produced at the Izhevsk arsenal and at Tula, just outside of Moscow. By the end of World War II, 17.4 million 91/30 rifles had been produced. Today they are considered a collector’s item and are popular with target shooters and hunters.

This past weekend, I attended my first gun show. I went expecting nicely organized stalls of miniature gun shops selling and featuring guns. I was a little surprised by the chaos that greeted me  It was like many “shows” I have been to. I saw table after table of items in no particular order. And not just guns, I saw jewelry, paintings, books, cigars, leather items, belt buckles, purses, t-shirts and movies.


As we walked in we saw a display of World War II uniforms, hats, helmets, swastikas and even music. In the far corner were detailed paintings of civil war scenes. The artist had what looked like a perm in his white hair and a gold chain around his neck. One woman was selling plastic purses in the shape of a football. In another corner was a small snack shop with a big sign you could see from anywhere – Beer. There were, of course, all kinds of guns from Lugers to the most modern complex shooting machines. I even saw a small pink handgun. All the paraphernalia surrounding guns were available as well, including holsters, carrying cases, and ammunition.


I was pretty naïve. It was a surprised when they sold us a box of bullets without even looking at us twice. I didn’t know I could buy a gun and walk around with a concealed weapon in almost every State. Nor was I aware that we could buy and sell a gun without anybody asking any questions. All that is possible in Virginia.

After looking around at everything, and I mean everything, we found three places selling the Mosin-Nagant. We inspected them all and questioned the sellers and my friend settled on one made in 1942 at the Izhevsk arsenal that came with a cleaning kit, sling, ammo pouch and bayonet. The mission was accomplished and I learned a lot.

4 thoughts on “My first gun show and what I learned

  • July 31, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    I don’t fully understand the point to this writing. The author made it sound as if there was a wide assortment of items for sell at the gun show, which there always is. The couple of things she forgot to mention is the several jerky booths that sell seasoned meat touched by the hand of God, the usual pro-gun organization tables trying to get you to donate money, defend the 2nd Amendment, and take some of their literature, and military surplus tales with G.I. canteens from the 1980s, bundles of OD green socks, and MREs. She made it sound as if she had a nice time stepping into a “different world” full of strange and interesting things.

    But then she turns around and seems to either touch on the Liberal fear of firearms and their owners or is simply so clueless on the topic of guns that she states, “I was surprised when they sold us a box of bullets without even looking at us twice. I didn’t know I could buy a gun and walk around with a concealed weapon in almost every State. I was not aware that I could buy and sell a gun without anybody asking any questions.” Has the author been living under a rock for the last 12 months? I would think that anyone who is going to write on the topic of guns would at least research the Concealed Carry movement now that it is in all 50 states, certainly after the Zimmerman trial since he used his legally concealed firearm to kill a young man in self-defense. And as for the ‘no questions asked’ gun sells, was this from an FFL dealer or a private citizen? I don’t live in Virginia and personally don’t know their gun laws. But do a quick Google search and you find the NRA-ILA declaring, “No state permit is required to otherwise purchase or possess a rifle, shotgun or handgun. Virginia residents may purchase firearms from any licensed Federal Firearms Licensee, even if they are out of state. A criminal history record information check is required prior to purchasing any firearm, except for an antique or its replica. A fee of $2.00 will be collected for such a check. For non-residents it is $5.00.” In the end, I’m still not sure of the final endgame of the author’s trip to the gun show.


  • July 30, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    It sounds like you had a interesting time. You should perhaps research a bit more about the legality of concealed weapons, and background checks at gun shows, but what you describe is pretty my typical for the majority of gun shows in America.

    People who enjoy firearms (sports, hunting, target shooting, training, self-defense) tend to be a slice of Americana. We are as varied as our communities, and overall we are friendly and supportive to newcomers. I think if you went to a range or two with your friend to try out his new purchase you would be pleasantly surprised by the welcome you get.

    Of course there are those who are curmudgeonly too, after all, we are as human as any other group.

  • July 30, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    Criminals have always bought guns and walked around with them concealed. It’s not a novel idea.

  • July 30, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    What does this mean?

    “I didn’t know I could buy a gun and walk around with a concealed weapon in almost every State.”

    Lawfully? Yes, 38 states (39 when Illinois starts issuing) must issue a carry permit to an applicant who is lawfully eligible to receive it and five – as I recall – no longer require such a permit for those who lawfully possess a firearm. Thus, “in almost every State,” Ms. Gamble must first obtain a permit from the state or one that is recognized by that state in order to carry a concealed firearm without becoming a criminal. Criminals, by definition, ignore such laws.


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