Gun Show Idiots

Michael Bane points to a hit piece on guns shows that’s been making its way around the blogosphere.  Other than the usual “Grenade launchers, RPGs, and Bazooka’s, Oh My!” and “There are people who love Hitler here!” crap you’d expect from folks who have no idea what they are looking at, I particularly love this one:

An organizer of the Antioch show told me the heightened specter of government scrutiny prompted numerous dealers to demand a total ban on cameras of any kind inside the show.

The reason that dealers ban cameras is to deter straw purchasers!  It’s also the reason many dealers ban cell phone use in their stores or booths.  It prevents easy communication with the actual, prohibited buyer.

Isn’t this the kind of thing you would, you know, want to encourage rather than deride?  But I suppose that gets in the way of their “Look at all these dumb crazy rednecks” narritive.  Remember that when they try to tell you it’s all about public safety.  There were idiots at this gun show, but it wasn’t who the Daily Beast thought they were.  Perhaps they should look in a mirror.

11 thoughts on “Gun Show Idiots”

  1. I don’t see how the cameras play into the “straw purchase” stuff. I suspect that gun show operators don’t want cameras there because liberal hacks like the one that wrote the article will take video and edit it to look like criminal activity was going on. I really don’t see how having a camera would help a prohibited person making an illegal purchase. Please explain that to me.

    I don’t know about the cell phone angle. I’ve never seen a store or booth at a gun show that banned cell phone use. We frequently use cell phones to cover a gun show more quickly. Everyone has a list of what everyone is looking for and if you find it you call the person to let them know where and how much. Vendors at shows might not like it because it makes bargaining easier for us and harder for them, but I’ve never had one tell me I couldn’t use a cell phone when standing in front of his table.

  2. At least one of the gun shops near me bans cell phones; given that they have a door you have to be buzzed through, iron bars on the windows, and a Glock very obviously ready to be grabbed by the staff if needed, I’m guessing that their concern isn’t liberal journalists.

    That said, if I were running a gun store then one of my main concerns might be people using me as a showroom and then buying online. Smart people would write down or remember details, but then, not everyone’s smart.

  3. Wolfwood,

    I was thinking more specifically of gun shows with the liberal journalist comments, not gun shops.

    A few years ago in TX a “reporter” took a video camera into a gun show and videotaped an individual selling a gun to another individual FTF. The video ended up on TV as part of a special on “the gunshow loophole” nonsense. I can see why gun show promoters might be sensitive about that sort of thing.

    I’ve never been in any kind of store where the owner had to buzz you in. I still don’t understand the cell phone thing, unless it has to do with people comparing prices at other stores, like you said. I can see someone going into Joe’s Gunshop and getting a price on a G21, then calling Bob’s Gunshop from the store to compare prices. Seems to me that you could just walk out to the parking lot to call Bob’s instead of doing it in the store.

  4. It defeats straw purchasers by preventing the strawman from taking a picture of the gun in question to be purchased and going out in the parking lot and being able to point to it and say “Is this the gun you want me to buy?”

  5. the anti-gun nonsense aside, there is a lesson here:

    if you want to be a respectable movement, you stop consorting with people who sell nazi memorabilia or take banner ads from racist groups like the cofcc. do you think they sell pictures of hitler at the gay rights convention, or the star trek convention? we are judged by the company we keep. if gun people do not exercise their first amendment right to dissociate themselves from stuff like this, they will lose.

  6. I am sympathetic to that notion, Normal Person, but I also think militaria is a legitimate interest. Nonetheless, I think militaria vendors can exercise a bit of self-policing by having a booth setup that makes it clear what’s being sold. They do a pretty good job around here.

  7. First, it doesn’t matter that you label it “militaria.” A lot of these booths have only one kind of “militaria” — nazi militaria.

    Second, to be “militaria” it should be some sort of historic relic. Brand new made in china swastikas do not count.

    Third, even if it is generally militaria and only some of it is german, and it’s wonderful that people collect it and enjoy it, they don’t have to collect it and enjoy it at a gun show, just like they don’t collect it and enjoy it at the beanie baby show.

    There’s no washing this stuff. It is politically stupid and, let’s face it: do you want to hang out with people who collect nazi sh*t all over the place? These people are the reason I value the Second Amendment — not the people with whom I want to celebrate the right to arms.

  8. “First, it doesn’t matter that you label it “militaria.” A lot of these booths have only one kind of “militaria” — nazi militaria.

    Second, to be “militaria” it should be some sort of historic relic. Brand new made in china swastikas do not count. ”

    I confess that while I have seen a lot of militaria being offered at gun shows, I have only once or twice seen someone selling just Nazi stuff–and never new Nazi stuff.

    I do agree with Normal Person that gun show operators should make it very clear to anyone offering militaria that if they are ONLY offering Nazi stuff, perhaps they should find some other place to sell it, or broaden the stuff that they sell. If they get all huffy about that, sorry, we don’t need your business.

    And yes, you do find the neo-Nazi stuff in other places. William J. Murray’s My Life Without God describes how he saw the atheist conventions his mother, Madelyn Murray O’Hair, operate, change over a 20 year period from having lots of Communists to lots of neo-Nazis.

  9. Something else that doesn’t do us any good: gun porn. No, I don’t mean foldouts of that Browning Automatic Rifle you want–I mean the naked gals with guns. It plays into the “you want a gun to deal with your sexual inadequacy” pseudo-Freudianism, and is generally quite juvenile.

    Some years ago, when I was a gun dealer, I called up a supplier of SKS parts that was using a gal in a bikini (not even a very attractive gal in a bikini) in their Shotgun News ad, and suggested that this was a bad image, and might be a problem in feminist-infested places like California–or even just with more traditional values sorts.

    I thought I got the message across. I guess not. A couple issues later–there’s beefcake selling the SKS parts.

  10. Gun shows in some parts of the country seem to police themselves better than other parts of the country. I’ve never seen a militaria booth at a gun show here that didn’t look like a militaria booth. I can’t recall seeing Nazi flags prominently displayed either. But I hear from people in other parts of the country of booths manned by lots of fringe causes. So my view might be a bit clouded that I’ve never seen a dealer around here selling anything that looked, to me, like it a real problem.

  11. I’ve been to gun shows in Montana, Wyoming, California, Oregon, and Nevada. Despite Montana’s general reputation, Reno, Nevada in my experience has the wackiest gun show displays, with the greatest quotient of conspiracy types, self-styled militiamen, et cetera. Even still, most of the tables at virtually all of the shows I’ve attended (say, 50?) have been completely innocuous. Nazi stuff might appear from time to time, but on the other hand I’ve also seen a ’51 Colt’s Navy documented to John Chivington of “nits become lice” infamy.
    History is interesting in large part because of its horrors–I once lived next door to an old geezer who’d gone stone deaf from bazooka fire during WW2, and he liked nothing better than to trot out a captured Swastika flag with stains that he claimed were from actual Nazi blood. Many gun nuts have a like interest in history and a formidable knowledge of same–is it really necessary to censor and sanitize every little thing because a bunch of neurotic thought police might go into a hand-wringing frenzy?
    As for the girls-with-guns phenomenon, yeah, it’s a little stupid, but if it mainly pisses off second-wave feminists–themselves the most fascistic group of people in America–I’ll hang a nekkid gun pitcher’ in every room of the house, in the name of freedom of thought and nature, glorious nature…

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