Yesterday morning I headed off to the local gun show. Down here they're relatively small affairs, held in a local agricultural display hall, with perhaps a couple of dozen dealers in firearms and a few others offering leather products, knives, T-shirts and the seemingly obligatory Nazi memorabilia. (I do hope the latter are put out of business as quickly as possible by lack of interest . . . that particular regime deserves to be consigned to the dustbin of history, rather than memorialized!)
One of the things that 'non-gun people' fail to appreciate is the genuine niceness
of most shooters and their families. Larger gun shows are too crowded and business-like to appreciate this, but at a smaller, more intimate gun show like ours, whole families walk the aisles together, toddlers in their push-chairs or their parents' arms, older kids skipping ahead, poking and prodding at the items on display to a never-ending chorus of "I said don't TOUCH!"
, and teenagers gazing with lustful longing at the hunting rifles and shotguns to which they aspire.
One stall in particular took advantage of the presence of so many families. The dealer had put out a display of pink .22 Crickett children's rifles
, like this one:
Passing girls would gape open-mouthed for a moment, then grab Mom's or Dad's leg with squeals of "I wanna Barbie rifle! Pleeeeeze,
Mommy?" All the men within earshot would wince simultaneously at the mention of a 'Barbie rifle', but that didn't silence the pleas, or their success.
The dealer had catered to the boy's market, too, by putting out several Ruger 10/22 CRR
compact .22 rifles (some like the one shown below, and some in camouflage finish):
His prices were good, too. He was doing a roaring trade selling rifles to both sexes of children, to the amusement of passers-by and the probable resentment of the kids' parents!
I took several guns with me, and booked a table to dispose of them as a private seller. It's the first time I've done this, and I deliberately priced them realistically, because I needed to raise some cash for some very important upcoming expenses. I had a great time, and sold all but one of the guns I'd brought, making enough money to cater for immediate needs. I also took three guns as trades, two of which I'd been looking for for some time, and which I was very pleased to get. The third . . . well, there'll be another gun show soon!
Part of the fun is the haggling, offers of trades, and general snarky comments from those trying every trick in the book to get a bargain. It's all done with great good humor, and everyone enjoys it. One guy pulled a really sneaky trick, asking me to hold his one-year-old daughter while he examined one of my rifles more closely. Having a gurgling, happy tot blowing bubbles in one's ear is very
bad for one's negotiating strategy, I found! Still, I sold him the gun for close to my asking price, so we both ended up happy. I last saw them headed down the aisle, the young lady making persistent efforts to reach over her father's shoulder to grab the muzzle of the rifle, slung behind his back. I wonder how much slobber and grimy paw prints he had to wipe off it when he got home?