Gun show attracts more people than usual


April 30, 2007, 01:36 PM

Crossroads of the West
Gun show attracts more people than usual

By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune


SANDY [Utah] - Thousands flocked to the Crossroads of the West Gun Show over the weekend, continuing a trend of higher attendance in a year that has seen widely publicized mass shootings and a congressional change of the guard.

The two-day show at the South Towne Exposition Center attracted about 10,000 people, much higher attendance than usual, according to Bob Templeton of Kaysville, general manager of the show. The more popular February show, which normally draws between 8,000 and 9,000 people to Sandy, this year drew 12,000, he said.

Templeton points to the new Democratic majority in Congress - anticipated to push tighter gun control measures - and shootings that may have people worrying about their safety.

"The congressional switch put guns in the forefront of people's minds," said Templeton, who founded the gun show 32 years ago and has since taken it to four other Western states. "And recent news coverage has increased the interest in self-defense."

In February, 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic went on a shooting spree inside Salt Lake City's Trolley Square mall, killing five and wounding four. Earlier this month, Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 students and teachers in a campus shooting rampage.

Outside the main hall of the show Sunday, the number of people taking a three-hour course for concealed-weapon certification had also increased.

"We had about 150 people in two days, compared to an average of 75-100," said Shirley Spain of Concealed Carry Specialists, which runs the training with her husband, Curtis Spain. The two say they had to add extra sessions to accommodate the interest.

"They come from all walks of life, from motorcycle guys to newlyweds," Spain said of those who take the class. "There's no stereotype for a concealed-weapons holder. People are scared - they want to be responsible for their own safety."

Among those getting certified Sunday afternoon: an 83-year-old grandmother from Midvale who said she was pressured to get it by her husband and son, who wouldn't let the grandchildren play in her yard until she agreed to carry one.

If there was an undercurrent of fear at the show, though, it wasn't obvious in the exhibit hall.

Swarms of attendees - fathers and sons, men pushing strollers and wearing cowboy hats and boots, women in tank tops and camouflage pants, couples conferring on their purchases - strolled the aisles, checking out everything from a 1909 Mauser rifle to handguns and automatic weapons.

There were also displays of Beanie babies and home-baked bread, Swiss army knives and stuffed pheasants, realistic toy guns and antique bows and arrows. Quilt-making and scrapbook items were also on sale.

Don Black of Murray brought his married daughter, Leslie Henderson of Sandy, to the show.

Black has a couple of guns and once enjoyed hunting and target shooting. He said he has given up hunting, but still enjoys aiming at paper targets or tin cans.

Henderson introduced her husband to target shooting just three weeks ago.

"It's an empowering feeling," she said. "It's fun."

She plans to buy a gun sometime, but not before the couple buys a safe to keep it in.

After all, Henderson said, they have a 3-year-old son. In the back of the hall, Templeton's daughter, Tracy Olcott, was busily sending dealers' requests for background information to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to determine if a buyer had a criminal record.

"It's thorough," said Olcott, "A person could get turned down for something as insignificant as an unpaid parking ticket."

As of Sunday afternoon, she said, "no one had."

If you enjoyed reading about "Gun show attracts more people than usual" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
April 30, 2007, 01:40 PM
We were pretty swamped both days. Sold quite a few guns, and talked with lots of people.

I actually thought the January show had higher attendance, just from the general feel of the room. That was our record for sales, though this one was a close second.

We brought in a Prisim simulator, and put up a tent. Ran it all weekend. That was a big hit. We usually had a pretty decent crowd gathered around it at anytime.

Jorg Nysgerrig
April 30, 2007, 01:56 PM
So, when I started reading the article I thought "Great, 30% more people to be thrilled with the selection of breads, beanie babies, and glass baubles." The I thought perhaps I was being too hard on CotW. Then i saw this:
There were also displays of Beanie babies and home-baked bread

That leads me to believe there is still in inordinate amout of crap there? Is this true? I thought about hitting this one, but the constructin in Sandy has basically stopped me from going to any of the businesses in the area for the last several months.

April 30, 2007, 02:07 PM
There were also displays of Beanie babies and home-baked bread

That leads me to believe there is still in inordinate amout of crap there?
It is much easier for a guy to buy a toy if Momma can find something to be interested in too!

April 30, 2007, 02:34 PM
il be honest. the last gun show i went to only had one table of beef jerkey adn the like. there was a good number of tables of Militaria, but thats acceptable and relevant to the main group there.

good note. another gun show coming up in june

April 30, 2007, 03:24 PM
Well, I'm trying to put the Show, back in Gun Show. :p

The more the other tables are populated by angry, old men, with the racks of rusted hunting guns, scowling at anybody who dares look at their stuff, the better for me.

We set ours up more like a tradeshow booth, with some entertainment, videos of locals playing with machine guns, a laser simulator, plenty of knowledgable staff, willing to teach, and occassionally we sell some stuff.

And since my staff consisted of 90% THR members, you know they're pretty cool. PvtPyle, Nightcrawler, Atomic Ferret, Ben Shepherd, and Curly of THR we're all manning my booth.

I actually really like working the gunshow.

1 old 0311
April 30, 2007, 04:19 PM
Actually I like the 'non gun stuff' also. Gives me a chance to bring something home for the kids, and the boss.

April 30, 2007, 04:45 PM
Last time I was at the South Towne Expo Center for a gun show was before the turn of the century (I never thought I would be old enough to say something like that but it is true. I believe it was 1998). I bought a nice Remington model 700 in .30-06 from a gun dealer who had come down from Logan. That gun has put a Mule deer in the freezer every year since then. I used it the first couple of years and then became partially disabled, but my son-in-law who is a corrections officer has had uncanny success with it.

As I remember, that year the gun show was rather blah just like Correia described. There was not any thing else there other than knives and a little camping gear displayed. I am happy to hear that it is turning into a good venue for dealers to show their wares, kinda like the Outdoor Show they have each spring downtown.

Maybe I will try to attend one this year. It is just rather difficult for me to get around anymore.

April 30, 2007, 04:50 PM
qlajlu, I can't speak for the other dealers. But we do try.

April 30, 2007, 05:09 PM
I really dont do gun shows.... I do good at my little store on the corner.
crownroyal, it is always nice to have someone you can rely on to give you good deals and supply the best of products. Your loyalty is admirable and I hope that does not change for you.

The great thing about a well run gun show is that it puts thousands of firearms in close proximity to each other and gives a potential buyer a chance to scan the availability of particular firearms. Since there are so many dealers all under one roof it is much easier to do comparison shopping. You might be fixed on one particular firearm and within a very short time, at a gun show, you have the opportunity to see what offers other dealers have on that very same make, model, caliber, and extras. That is the least for me.
qlajlu, I can't speak for the other dealers. But we do try.
Correia, you better be careful or you will find FBMG ( the one setting the bar which means you will have to outdo yourself every year. :D

What I found comical was the number of gunnies that came away from that gun show I attended with that unmistakable thousand-yard-stare-in-a-ten-foot-room look on their faces. :what:

April 30, 2007, 05:15 PM
Nevvvvvvver mind. Brain fart.

April 30, 2007, 05:43 PM
I really dont do gun shows.... I do good at my little store on the corner.
crownroyal, maybe I misread what you said exactly. Are you the proprietor of The Holster Store? If you are, I have tons of respect for you because a good holster is worth its weight in gold. I would like to convince you, if you are indeed the maker of holsters, to set up at a well run gun show in Florida. Your wares are every bit as important as are the firearms, knives, etc. to a gunny.

Standing Wolf
April 30, 2007, 08:10 PM
Both firearms sales and enrollment in CCW classes are up in the gun shop I work in.

Johnny B
April 30, 2007, 08:14 PM
That place was packed. I went on Saturday and there seemed to be a pretty good turnout. It was even harder to find someplace to park than usual.

If you enjoyed reading about "Gun show attracts more people than usual" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!