So… Gunshows are “Supermarkets for Criminals” eh?

Not according to J. David Phillips of Crystal River FL, and his experience is just about a duplicate of mine. Which is why I don’t go to Evil Loophole Gunshows anymore. Here’s an old rec.guns newsgroup post on the topic. Keep spewable liquids away from the keyboard:

Is your show anything like this one?

Arrive early. Usually a short wait to get in. For parking that is. Overpriced parking that costs more than show admission. Gunshow is usually held at the same time the Women’s Knitting Society Doll Show is held, and they open earlier, so all the good parking is snapped up. Oh well, I suppose no one in Florida has any right to complain about walking in the rain.

Now we’ve got the line to get in. Let’s see, there are three lines. Gee, this one is a bit shorter. Oops, why is it going so slow? Why the #### is everyone in MY line paying with loose change? Cripes, the other lines have cleared out twice over. Finally get to the booth. Oops, now it’s shift change. At 9AM?

A couple of sleezy looking good ole boys holding up the wall shout “Hey, what’ya got on that chrome AK? Does it have the switch on it ?”

Now for the line to get in. Everyone has to be checked for guns. No, I’m not carrying a gun. Thank goodness. The old geezer rent-a-cop is having trouble trying to figure out how to open someone’s 30-30 action.

OK, now we’re cooking with gas. Literally. I have to run the gauntlet of BBQ grill dealers.

Ah, a gun table. Looks interesting. Oops, spoke too soon. Someone must be kidding. These are parts guns and this guy wants 50% over MSRP? Move on.

Here’s a familiar sight. This old fella always has a table full of Winchester Model 71’s. The same table full. Meaning he hasn’t sold any for several years. I guess he’s just displaying his collection and is tired of saying they aren’t for sale, so he’s resorted to putting astronomical prices on them to discourage sales. At least that’s what I can figure out.

Oh look, the Beanie Baby dealer fom Ozello has managed to move closer to the front door.

Couple of ultra fat sleezy good ole boys holding up the South wall shout “Hey, what’ya got on that there chrome AK? Has it got duh switch on it ?”

Now I have to run the gaunlet of safe dealers who take your order but never deliver. My sister had to get the state attorney general involved to get her money back from one. Quickly move on.

Make quick pit stop. Wish I had gone before I left home. The facilities are so filthy that I cannot describe them here. Wish I had used the safe of the ripoff dealer to relieve myself.

Now I pass the snack bar. I could never figure out why it is located right next to the restrooms. People are standing in line for hotdogs that look like they’ve been cooking since the last gunshow. The smell of hotdogs and urinal mints must make some people hungry, I guess. Quickly move along.

This guy seems to have quite a crowd around his gun parts. Wait to get close to table. Dang. It’s all the pot metal 1911 bushings with built-in comp and bayonet lugs. Work my way out of the crowd and on to the next table.

More Beanie Babies from a dealer in Aripieka.

Now a jerky and sausage vender from Brooksville.

Darrel and Darrel come up to me and ask “Hey, what’ya got on that chrome AK? Do it have the switch on it ?”

Ah, some real gun parts. Unfortunately none for any of the many gun projects I have. but it’s good to know that if I ever get a Mondragon that this guy has cornered the market for firing pins.

More beanie babies from an idiot in Crystal River.

Say, here’s three tables with books. Let’s see… “How To Turn Your 10-22 Into A Thousand Yard Assault Sniper Rifle”. “How To Make A Fully Automatic 10-22 Assault Sniper Weapons System”. “Converting Your 10-22 Into a Fully Automatic Thousand Yard Assault Sniper Weapon”. Hmmm, I’m begining to see a pattern here. Move along.

Ah, the mountain man muzzleloader dealer. This guy seems knowledgable, reasonably priced, has lots of inventory and accessories, and is friendly. Too bad I’m not into muzzleloaders.

Here’s a fellow I can’t figure out. He is a collector. Yet he brings glass display counters. Six of them. Full of brand new guns with warranty. No 4473, cuz he ain’t a dealer. He’s a collector. Gee, wish I could be a collector and sell dozens of brand new guns still in the box from my collection each weekend. Course, if you are in ‘business’ , then you have to have a license.

Next is the eight tables of guns from a local storefront dealer. They are selling like hotcakes. Can’t be the price, because they are marked up even more than what they sell for in the store. After looking over the guns and hearing “You gunna buy or what?” from three different clerks, it begins to dawn on me that people are there for the abuse. I think they’re from Inverness.

Quickly move along.

Here’s a table dedicated to sniping. He sells sniper rifles, sniper scopes, sniper ammo, sniper clothes, sniper books, sniper bumper stickers, sniper posters, sniper conversion kits for 10-22’s, sniper jacket pathes and how to snipe video tapes. Quite a crowd too. The seller is telling some youngsters about the brave and noble Waffen SS snipers who would hold their fire while old Russian women crossed the street with their babies. Made sour mental note that perhaps Waffen SS snipers might be a level above Lon Horiuchi.

Stop at a little table with an interesting old pistol. Unfortunately, the seller is not there, as he ate one of the hotdogs and is soaking up some of the restroom mints, but his sister’s cousin’s daughter’s boy is, and he’s watching the table. Have to come back later.

Oh look, the magazine dealer. This old gentleman makes my visit worthwhile. His prices are pretty high, but it’s amazing the magazines he comes up with. I need a magazine for a Walther P-38 in 22LR. By George, he’s got one. New in wrapper. $60. Ouch. Buy it anyway. Have to make the parking and entrance fee seem worthwhile. Wish he’d sell out of his house, but no, only at gun shows.

More Beanie Babies from another idiot in Lecanto.

Bruce and Larry from Queer People, Inc, ask “What’ya got on that there chrome AK? Does it have the switch, sweetie?”

Another magazine dealer. Let’s see what he has. Lots and lots of bins of magazines for every imaginable military firearm since WWII. Uh oh, they are all USA magazines. But, they’re guaranteed for life.

And another book dealer. Let’s see. “How To Turn Your 10-22 Into a….” QUICKLY move along.

A pawn shop table. Cheap jewelry, watches and junk from a competitor in Crystal River. I guess he’s finally found out that one has to watch how much stuff they take into the store.

Another sausage and jerky dealer from the place next door to the pet store in Crystal River.

Alright! An old west firearms dealer. Rusted pre-war Win 1894 – $650. Rusted Iver Johnson topbreak 32 revolver with peeling nickel finish – $400. Halfway decent Colt SAA – note says it was owned by Jesse James. (sigh)

Another parts dealer. Yep. Lots of parts alright. Too bad they all are either demilled by being torch cut or look like they’ve been salvaged from a sunken U-Boat. Thought I heard someone say they’re from the Atocha, and found by Mel Fisher.

Here’s an interesting table full of guns. Decent prices. Decent looking old guns. Hey, just what I’m looking for. Says the bore is good. Can you please snip the ty-wrap so I can inspect the bore? Why not? Oh, you aren’t allowed to do that? Show management said so? How come all the other dealers do it? You won’t sell to me because I’m a trouble maker? Geeeesh, must be from that Hernanidiot club.

Surplus military clothing. Lots of it. Along with surplus moth holes. All at non-surplus prices.

Table full of cheap toys made by slave labor in communist China.

Oh boy, this looks interesting. Lots and lots of reloading equipment, much of it in older boxes. Might find some obsolete dies. Yep, just what I need. 25-35 and 32-40. I figure $20 each is fair. What? Do you know your price is double the new RCBS price? Take it or leave it? They got a lifetime warranteeee. Leave it.

A guy selling gun stocks. Do you have a stock for a pre-64 Model 94 Winchester? Looks around, slightly confused, then says his stocks fit all Winchester 94’s. Sorry, but no, they don’t, they are the same stock as the Win 1892. Well sonny, I’ve been in the stock biznuz for thutty yaars, and I oughta know.

Familiar looking cast bullet dealer. Lots of nice looking bullets. Ask him the same question I ask at every gun show. Do you have soft cast 45-70 and 45 Colt bullets with either SPG lube or no lube? I see, only hard cast with lube so hard it might as well be plastic. What’s SPG ?

Another gun dealer. Hmmm. Interesting Broomhandle Mauser. Say can I ***HEY MISTER YOU WANT TO SELL THAT SPRINGFIELD?*** look at your ***WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR THAT WINCHESTER?*** Broomhandle Maus- ***I HAVE A BAYONET TO FIT YOUR GARAND RIGHT HERE*** Give up and leave. He’d rather cast his line at fish going by than one nibbling on his hook.

Another Beanie Baby dealer from New York, shouting out ” Such a deal for youse”.

See an old acquaintence of mine that is a total gun show whore. Hey Samuri Davie boy, you sure have put on weight. How much ya got on that there chrome AK? Does it have the switch on it?”

A table with all sorts of old junk, none of it having anything to do with firearms, being manned by a kindly looking old lady. Politely smile and nod and move along.

Table full of project guns. All torch cut in two. Yep, they’d be a project alright.

Samuri sword dealer. I started feeling for my pocket gun and the switch on the AK.

Nazi collectibles dealer. Why are these guys always about 330 pounds, need a shave, have a tooth missing, wear plumber’s butt jeans and wife beater t-shirts and have their hair slicked back? Oh, the ‘DEATH TO ZOG’ bumper sticker is a nice touch. Skip whole row.

Demonstration row. Here’s a guy with a hotplate and tea kettle showing how his goop fog proofs your eyeglasses. I bought some of the stuff a couple of years ago from a woman with huge tits. Still have it, as it doesn’t work. Here’s a guy showing how his vacuum cleaner can pick up a bowling ball (will keep that in mind when the bowling ball buildup on my carpets gets out of hand). Here’s a guy selling a complete butcher shop kit. Bandsaw, huge sausage grinder, giant meat slicer, more knives than a Ginsu ad, everything to keep Jeffery Dahlmer happy. Here’s a guy selling a meat blade that attaches to your chainsaw to cut up your deer. Must be for the high volume hunter. What else? A knife sharpener. Carpet shampoo. Car wash. Kit for making 800 lbs of jerky. At least walking this isle was better than going by the hotdog and urinal mint stench.

More Beanie Babies from the Christmas Store down the street.

Table with lots of AR15’s. And the obligatory old geezer spouting off to no one in particular, “By gum, that be them thar ay-salt wippins thet be gettin the rest of ouh gun rayhts taken away, yessir. No self ray-spectun sportsman would evah own one o dem. No sir. They need ta be banned.” Notice at least he has a wide space around him. Maybe it’s a plan to keep from being jostled by the crowd. I think he’s the guy that sells the blowguns down the aisle.

T-Shirt vendor. Has t-shirts like “DEATH TO ZOG”. Gee, this guy is about 330 pounds, needs a shave, has a tooth missing, wear’s plumber’s crack jeans and a wife beater t-shirt and has his hair slicked back. Shake head wondering if he’s related to the Nazi collectibles dealer.

This table is loaded with all the gun gimmicks of the last 30 years. Glow in the dark sight paint. Folding 10-22 Assault Sniper Weapon Stocks with Flash Hider and Built In Bayonet Lug and Oversized Tactical Safety and Magazine Release kit. Barrel heat shield for 10-22 (they get might hot after conversion to a thousand yard fully automatic assault sniper rifle, ya know). Ah, this is interesting. Why I don’t know. A 150 round snail drum for a Charter Arms AR-7. At least when you’re living off the land you won’t have to reload all winter.

Jerky and sausage dealer from New Jersey, shouting ” Oy Vey”.

Bikers selling Harley parts for 20% above retail from one of the biker trash shops around Crystal River.

Mutt and Jeff stop by and ask, “What’ya got on that chrome AK? Duhs it have switches on it?”

Local gun club group who says they are raffling off a Winchester 22 Magnum rifle with a 3-9 scope. Raffle tickets are $10 each and go to defending gun rights and their building fund. What building? Free club patch, suitable for patching holes in your shirt. Ask them who won the last rifle they were raffling off. Sorry, can’t tell ya. Privacy and all that. Do you at least have a photo of the winner holding up his gun? Uneasy silence while they all look at each other with that “gee, maybe we’d have more credibility if we faked a photo like that.”

Guy with a few bins of gun parts and a HUGE-BY-LARGE sign that says I CARRY ALL GUN PARTS – JUST ASK!. Do you have a loading gate for an 1886 Winchester? No. Do you have a firing pin for an 1892 Winchester? No. Do you have an extractor for a Rem 788? No. (Hmmm, let’s try an experiment.) Do you have a kit for converting a Ruger 10-22 into a thousand yard fully automatic assault sniper rifle? Yessir, sure do.

Old woman at a table full of books. She weighs about 330 lbs, has a tooth missing, greasy hair and is selling books with titles like “DEATH TO ZOG”. She vaguely resembles someone. Shake head and move on.

Only a couple of tables to go. Getting hungry too. And need to make a pit stop. Figure I’ll drive to the nearest McDonald’s rather than risk the toilet mint aroma hot dogs and the filthy facilities.

And what are the last two tables?

Beanie Babies seconds from their factory.

And a guy who has REALLY figured out marketing. His table has jerky, 10-22 conversion books, rusty gun parts, old reloading dies, a few Nazi medals, and a rusted up top break Webley revolver, formerly owned by Jesse James.

My contribution? Parking fee, entrance fee, bought one pricey magazine, headache from the toilet mint smell, and two black tire marks out of the parking lot.

The only difference between Mr. Phillips’ experience and my own is that the gun shows out here have a lot fewer gun vendors, and only one “DEATH TO ZOG” booth.

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