(c) 2012 Earl L Haehl Permission is granted to redistribute this in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.
It has been some time since I went to a Gunshow. According to the folks in Washington and New York these shows are a hotbed of illegal weapons sales. I have made personal purchases from other customers—sometimes a trade. But every dealer has to go through the NICS process.
I very seldom buy weapons but I check prices which are driven by demand. And a key factor in demand is regulation and rumors of regulation. Back in the early nineties there was a rumor that ATF would require that primers have a shelf life of no more than six months. While this is possible, the chemical process would be iffy–the shelf life starts at the point of manufacture. Existing primers shot up in price and disappeared. Also, semi-auto weapons have had ups and downs depending on the political climate.
Also there are knick-knacks and coins as well as Pakistani swords and knives for the RenFest crowd. I brought home some t-shirts for the family that said, “PETA People Eating Tasty Animals.” There are various political and attitudinal bumper stickers I would not want on my truck if I were a defendant in a self-defense shooting case.
What really makes gun shows interesting are the tools and books. These are not just reloading and gunsmithing tools but metalworking tools from which can be made machine tools, My theory has always been that the way out of a breakdown and collapse is the rebuilding of a manufacturing infrastructure–one wind generator and home workshop at a time. My son steers me away from tables where they have multi-bit screwdrivers, which I am reputed to accumulate.
I really enjoy seeing the used books and coins. There are a lot of turn-of-the-20th-Century two and four volume encyclopediae that have instructions on manufacturing techniques as well as Kurt Saxon’s books that excerpt them. Also there are some out of print classics such as some of Ruark’s less than politically correct books.
Coins fascinate me and I might be tempted. The artwork and history are really important to know.