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If you live in the U.S, there is a huge chance you would have heard the term “gun shows.” What exactly is a gun show? You might have asked yourself this question a few times or maybe you know what a gun show is, but you have not had the privilege of witnessing one. Well, Fullyloadedclip is here to help as always. This article will introduce you to gun shows including the regulations you should adhere to, tips to follow, and what to expect at one all from our perspective. So sit tight as we take a fascinating dive into the world of gun shows. Let’s get to it.

What is a Gun show?

via GIPHY Gun Show

In the simplest of terms, a gun show is an event where licensed people trade, buy and sell various gun-related items such as ammo, scope, straps, and so on. From Texas to California, Connecticut to New Jersey and New York, gun shows are a rave of the moment. Gun shows usually take place in large areas such as warehouses, arenas, and armories. For a licensed gun owner, a gun show might be the largest display of guns you might ever have the luxury of experiencing. Think of a gun show as a large convention filled with hundreds or thousands of gun lovers. In a gun show, licensed private sellers or promoters typically pay a certain amount of cash that can range from $20 upward depending on the size of the event and the number of guns they need space for. This money is paid to allow them to rent tables or a booth. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) estimated a total of 2000 to 5000 gun shows take place yearly in the U.S. That’s a whopping average of 5 – 13 gun shows per day. The largest gun show in the U.S. is the “Shot show.”

What types of items are sold at a gun show?

Man in a checkered shirt showing his military uniform and equipment
Man in a checkered shirt showing his military uniform and equipment

Contrary to popular beliefs, gun shows aren’t restricted to the sale of only guns. Some promoters sell books, knives, safety gear, and antiques. In a gun show, you can find the following;

  • Revolvers like the Ruger .357 magnum and the Smith and Wesson Model 19
  • Handguns like the Glock 17, Glock 19, and the S&W M&P 15.
  • Rifles like the Ruger AR-556
  • Knives
  • Gun attachments or accessories like gun straps, gun safes, holsters, scopes, magazines, and firearm sound suppressors otherwise known as silencers.
  • Safety gear including shoulder pads for rifle owners, helmets, goggles, and so on.
  • Ammunition. Whichever ammo you need, I’m sure you will get it at a gun show as long as the particular ammo is legal in the U.S.
  • Books on gun culture
  • Gun-related services. Believe it or not, some traders offer services to gun owners at gun shows such as rebranding or repairing guns.
  • Antiques. At every gun show, you will find oldsters and you wonder why these people aren’t at home sitting somewhere in the yard. This is because they are there to see and buy antiques. Some tables in a gun show will display antiques from the world war era. These include bayonets, knives, old helmets, and the likes. These items help them relive some good old memories. One time, I met an old army veteran who fought in the Second World War. He bought a Colt M1903 pistol. I thought the gun was out of pretty much every class, but he fancied it and paid a few bucks for it. At gun shows, expect to meet people of all ages with different backgrounds.
  • A mobile gun range. While this is not present at every gun show, it is in some. A mobile gun range is usually a trailer that houses a small gun range. The target distance is usually 7, 10, and 25 yards. After buying a gun, you can head to the trailer which is usually parked somewhere safe, and pop a few rounds with the gun.

Gun shows aren’t limited to the above-mentioned items but these are the common items you will find in every gun show. 

Gun show culture

It doesn’t take a wiz to know that there are rules and regulations to obey everywhere you go, especially at gun-related events. At gun shows, you have working guns, ammo, and people who know how to use them. Disregard the regulations and you get shot. lmao, I’m kidding. For real though, obey the rules. No one likes a nonconformist. Let’s check out a few rules you will encounter at a gun show.

Dealer signs: virtually every dealer table or booth will have a sign that displays information or rules to the buyers. The sign can be a general rule or fact about the guns available on that table. For instance, you can encounter a sign that states “do not touch!” This means the items on that table are not to be handled by buyers or customers. You can see a sign that tells you to “handle with care.” This sign or instruction is common when you get to tables that sell gun parts and accessories like scopes that can break or be damaged if not properly handled. If you break it, you buy it. If you have to do something that goes against the rule, you should ask the dealer before you do. For instance, if you come by a table with a sign that states “for display only or don’t touch”, you should ask the dealer if you can touch or handle the firearm before you do. If you get a “yes”, then have a go at it, if you get a “no” move to another table. It is that simple.

Asides from the dealer signs, there are other signs and instructions usually pasted across the venue of the gun show. These signs apply to everyone. They include “no shooting in here” “keep the safety on at all times” and the likes. Rules like these are set up to ensure the safety of everyone. Additionally, you might be required to present your guns and bags for checks. This usually applies to those who want to sell firearms. Checks like this are essential to ensure no one brings in illegal firearms into the show for people to buy. Some people might attempt to smuggle firearms that are illegal in the US so they can sell them to unsuspecting buyers.

Always take along your license or permit (CCW) and a safe or a bag especially if you want to buy a gun. In most gun shows, you will be required to present your license before you gain entry into the venue or the dealer might request the document to ensure you are a licensed person allowed to have a gun. This act is to conform to the federal law mandating that “dealers must run background checks on all buyers regardless of the venue where the purchase was made.” While this federal law is somewhat relaxed in some states, the law is stricter in some others. For instance, in Pennsylvania, it is legal for unlicensed dealers to trade and sell long guns like rifles and shotguns to buyers without conducting a background check since such weapons can’t be easily concealed or carried. This rule in Pennsylvania doesn’t apply to handguns and revolvers because they can easily be concealed. This means a background check is required. To be on the safe side, just take your license along.

58th annual Bel Air Gun Show begins Friday – The Aegis – Baltimore Sun

Also, while attempting to buy a gun, expect to fill a form. It is usually short paperwork you are required to fill before getting the gun. The form will require you to fill in your name, address, criminal history, age, and so on. The paperwork ensures that the whole transaction is detailed. You can present your CCW and fill the form in less than five minutes. Once this is completed, you can cart away with your firearm.

Always pay attention to the five golden gun safety rules.

For a list and detailed explanation of the rules, visit https://fullyloadedclip.com/5-gun-safety-rules-you-should-know/. The rules have been properly detailed and explained to make them easy to understand. Also, you should research the type of gun and ammo you want to buy before heading to the gun show. If you plan on getting something else at the show, then you should research it too. This will ensure you know exactly what you want. Without a clear definition of what to get, you will be overwhelmed by the broad range of choices available for you to pick from at the range. Eventually, you might go back home with a firearm asking yourself why you bought it. 

Final words

That’s basically it. You can share your experience at any gun show with us by leaving a comment below. If you liked this article which we are sure you did, feel free to let us know by leaving a comment below. Also, you can check out other articles on this website. You will like them too. Have a great time at the gun show.

Rell is a network engineer with over 10 years of experience in IT management and network optimization. He has a passion for firearms and previously worked with the US military in California, where he gained knowledge and experience in the gun world. Rell is a firearm instructor and range safety officer who runs a website for gun enthusiasts, where he provides information on gun culture, safety, and maintenance.

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