Friday, April 12, 2013

Columbus Gun Show 4/6/2013

I spent last weekend at Big Mike's place in Columbus.  While enjoying the excellent hospitality, we decided to attend the local gun show and see what might be for sale and needing a new home.  Moreover, Big Mike was on a mission.  Here's what we found.

The organizer is C And E Gun Shows, who for reasons best known to themselves decided to hold the show at the abandoned Westland Mall.  And by abandoned, I mean this place is wrecking ball bait three times over.  I think the building where the show was held might have been a J.C. Penny's at one time, and there isn't anything quite like seeing a pile of camouflage survival clothing, canteens, backpacks, boots and knives on display underneath a large sign that reads 'Maternity'.

It cost $9 to get in, but the admission was good for all three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) which is okay by me.  Granted, if I've seen the show on Friday, I'm not likely to return just to see what's left over.  I would cheerfully return if I had something to sell, which I didn't.

Welcome to Our Show!
No Photos, Please

This is C&E's show and they're welcome to make the rules up as they go along.  Seeing as how this is my blog and I'm welcome to write as it amuses me, here's my message to C&E: Screw you and your no cameras, no photos and no exceptions rule.  You can also take your strict enforcement and shove it right where the sun won't find it.  Why am I upset with this?  Have a drink and keep reading.

Seeing a display of camouflage clothing, backpacks and military surplus boots on display underneath a large sign that reads 'Maternity' just begs for a photo.  Add a few corpulent Armageddon types pawing through the camouflage gear, searching in vain for anything in size XXXXXL Fat Man, and it's a real digital moment.  Then there was the 25 foot display of holster rigs right under the sign Lingerie.  There's more, like the display of long guns and the sign, Plus Sizes.  All of these are missed photo opportunities, and given that I paid my dead presidents at the door and I intend no harm, what's their beef?

A few other things I saw at the gun show bear mentioning.  Like, for instance, two or three heavily tattooed clean head guys in a beat to death white van working the parking lot, selling guns and ammo.  They were doing everything to attract customers, including yelling "Gat for sale!".  No, I'm not exaggerating.  They yelled at us on our way in, and we ignored them.  The three young men in the SUV near us went over to see what they had for sale.  Then there was the three table display of a private collection that was being liquidated that was labeled as such - private sale.  Now, I don't really believe that a criminal background check is a great thing, but I'm grudgingly willing to live with it.  I do not agree that domestic violence is a valid reason to disarm anyone.  All that said, the number of private sales available was larger than anything I've seen before.  I'm not sure what that says about the C&E gun show or the gun owners in general.

As I meandered along the wall towards the rear of the store, I found myself standing in water.  Not a small puddle where someone spilled their beer.  This was flood water.  Sure enough, the toilets at the back of the store had clogged up and were overflowing to the point that the rear of the show got flooded.  Maintenance was summoned (two guys with a plumber's friend) and announcements were made about alternate restrooms being opened up as soon as possible.  Now, this is a dead mall.  What do you want to be that the water for the restrooms hasn't been turned on in over a year?  Class act, C&E.

I'll tell you what I didn't see at the gun show: Ammunition.  Shotgun ammo is easy to come by, but the only .22 long rifle ammunition I could find were two bricks, 500 rounds per brick.  The cost? $93.  That's right, ninety-three dead presidents for 500 .22 cartridges.  I passed.  I will not be gouged.

Another thing I didn't see at the gun show were the police.  As near as I can tell, and I spent time looking, there were no police at the gun show.  Had there been police, the trailer trash in the beat to death white van would have been stopped on a pretext and the van searched.  People can argue here that I'm stereotyping or profiling.  They're quite correct.  I am, in fact, stereotyping and profiling.  I'm even racial profiling.  I saw two white guys in a beat to death white van dressed in ragged jeans and sleeveless tee shirts with shaved heads, heavily tattooed (I didn't see any skin that was free of ink) driving around the parking lot of a dead mall pausing long enough to talk to men going in to the gun show, and playing show and tell with a few of them.  I don't think their van was beat up because they couldn't afford to fix it (poverty isn't a crime), and they were just driving around the parking lot to, what, practice their driving skills (not illegal) or to make new friends (not illegal) or to sell firearms and ammunition (again, not illegal).  I think they were criminals.  I think some of the people that bought from them were criminals, like the three black guys in the new SUV who were dressed in jeans, tee shirts and three pounds of bling that were buying something from them.  I wish I'd taken a photo - I'd post it and any law enforcement types could tell me if they were criminals or not.  Of course, then they'd be profiling, which is somehow inherently immoral, but being police they're expected to be immoral about profiling and criminals.

I hope these two groups find a bunch of Moonbats and rob them at gunpoint in a gun free zone within 100 feet of a grade school, and I hope they get away with it.

Oh well.

There were an absolutely incredible number of knives on display, and I couldn't resist.  I bought a ten dollar lock blade special from a disabled man with a table full of these.  It was kind of pretty and it worked well.

Ten Dollar Special

Lock Blade with Purple Handle
Having made my selection the dealer pulled a nice new knife out of a box under his table and offered it to me, saying that a new one was better than the floor model.  I opened the box and removed the knife from its cellophane wrapper.  The dealer started to mumble about 'break in periods' and 'working with it for a while'.  I tried the action and found the blade wouldn't lock in place.  I put the knife on the table and picked up the inferior floor model, which had a nice, smooth action and locked firmly in place.

"Thanks, but I'll just take this one."

I smiled.  The dealer and his buddy looked sour, but gave me my change.

I'm not saying the entire show was this way, because it wasn't.  I found a custom knife maker from Columbus had a table there, and I have one of his knives in my kitchen - Mopsy got it for me for Christmas one year.  Still, with all the controversy around firearms and self-defense it would seem that the gun show organizers could do just a little better.

I think I'll wear one of those clandestine spy cameras next time and publish the pix.

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