Weapons Show Draws Huge Crowd Amid Fear of Stricter Gun Laws

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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RAM Precision Ammunition owner, Rex Regier of Hillsboro, arrived at the US Weapons Show at Kansas Pavilions fully-loaded with merchandise to sell.

"We had 100,000 rounds, maybe 150,000," Regier said.

But something strange happened almost immediately.

"For the first 30 minutes it about sold out," Regier said. "This show has been really crazy. It's never been quite like this."

By Saturday afternoon, handwritten sold out signs are almost all that you could find on his tables.

"We sold out of everything from .380 auto up to .308 rifle and everything in between," Regier said.

This kind of rush on firearm merchandise is unprecedented, organizers said. They say it stems from people's nervousness and fear over possible stricter gun legislation in the near future.

"In 20 years, I've never seen anything like this," said US Weapons Collectors partner Dennis Pearson.

Pearson travels all over the country helping to put on these shows. He says President Barack Obama's comments following the Newtown shooting have set off a buying frenzy.

"When he talked about gun control, it's like he turned the light switch on," Pearson said. "I'm telling you, it doubled."

Hundreds of people have lined up hours before these shows have even opened. Pearson says attendance is up at least 50 to 60 percent. He says that means about an extra 5,000 to 6,000 people for this weekend's show in the Wichita area. That group includes people who are more eager than ever to test the market.

"It's different than any other crowd, I've ever seen," Pearson said. "They are buying anything and everything."

They're buying even with prices more than double for some items due to limited supply.

"I think everybody is scared they are not going to have their guns in the future," said Miles Willhite of Rosalia, Kan.

"They are here wanting to get it before they can't get it anymore," said Phil Hurd of Salina.

They say the number of people buying firearms at this show and other shows across the country speaks for itself when it comes to gun control.

"The people of America are responding and saying, 'No, that's not what we want,'" Hurd said.

"I hope Congress and the senators get the message that people want to retain their right to ownership of firearms," said Laurie Campbell of McPherson.

In the meantime, vendors are getting the message they have some busy weeks ahead.

"We just go back home now and start making more," Regier said.

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