Former Marine officer Jeff Groom takes readers on a trip through an Ohio gun show at The American Conservative. Groom explains the multi-generational appeal of gun shows, and how his grandfather introduced him to the events. He writes:
After returning to Ohio after nine years away in the Marines, I found myself with a weekend of free time. So I decided to check out an event I had frequented as a young man: a gun show.
Sometimes called gun and knife shows, I was introduced to them by my grandfather in the early 2000s in a small Ohio town called Circleville. It was at that show that I purchased a Russian-made surplus Mosin-Nagant M44 carbine battle rifle for only $100 out the door. Complete with a folding bayonet and the Soviet hammer and sickle stamped on the barrel, the rifle was in unused condition (but made in 1946) and coated from steel butt plate to front sight in an oil-based rust preventative product called cosmoline. Cosmoline is sticky and has the consistency of wax, so for several hours with rags and gun oil I happily toiled to shine it up and ready it for the first firing. I still love shooting it. Every shot of Russian surplus 7.62x54R ammunition produces a 12-inch flame and sounds like a mini-cannon going off.
Despite the recent media focus on gun control and gun violence, gun shows—which number about 5,000 annually—have been in the sights of Congress for closure for quite some time. Between 2001 and 2013 seven unsuccessful attempts were made to close what is known as the “gun show loophole.” Federal law requires background checks for businesses who hold a Federal Firearm License (FFL) to sell firearms. However, per the 1986 Firearms Owners Protection Act, private sellers are defined as those who don’t generate their primary income through gun sales. These transactions do not require a federal background check (though 11 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws requiring a background check for all sales, including private ones). A gun can be transferred through trade, by barter, or cash, all common sights at the shows.
So what is it like to go to one of these shows?
Read more here.
If you haven’t been to a gun show, find one in your area and check it out. They are a great place to get your gun. As with any gun purchase, you should get enough training to know what you’re doing.