It’s interesting to listen to gun control advocates describe gun shows as largely a Wild West kind of atmosphere where anything goes and no law actually exists. It seems quite at odds with what I have experienced spending many days camped out behind various volunteer tables working at gun shows.
Today, I heard about a dealer who was, on one hand, doing a great job of policing his own sales. On the other hand, he was apparently a jerk about it and just lost future customers over a pretty innocent mistake.
See, it was a father-son team from New Jersey. The father is a longtime gun owner who is fully up-to-date on all required paperwork, and even has a pistol purchase permit waiting to be used. The son just came of age, but is facing usual delays of getting everything he needs processed. Shocking from New Jersey, the state where gun ownership is really only legal under exceptions to the laws.
Anyway, the son found a rifle he wanted at the show, and the father asked him if he wanted it bad enough for the father to buy it and then later sell it to him through another documented transaction once he can finally be a New Jersey-approved gun owner. The dealer over heard this, and apparently got very bitchy about it. He refused the sale. I don’t really understand why he apparently also bitched out the two guys for making a pretty common and honest mistake of assuming that a dealer is really only prohibited from selling to someone who is going to give it away or sell it to a criminally prohibited person. The father made clear to his son that the firearm would not be available to him until they could lawfully sell it between the two of them, so they assumed that the dealer wouldn’t have an issue with it.
The dealer still has the gun and hasn’t lost anything at all in this interaction. Yet, rather than using the opportunity to make it a teachable moment on the law and maybe offering up a business card to the duo in order to encourage future business once the son does have his paperwork, the dealer got an attitude and just blew off the chance to sell guns to two men in the future.
So, good job on the dealer for following the law. Bad job on being polite while educating people who clearly have no criminal intent on their misunderstanding.
One thing to add about today’s show: There were many, many women there buying guns all on their own.