Thoughts And Observations From My Local Gun Show

In a few days I will be heading out to the 2013 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) held in Las Vegas, but today I thought it would be interesting to stop by a local gun show where the buying public traffic was rather brisk and certainly actively engaged to purchase.   I was in Rochester, Minnesota attending the Minnesota Weapon Collectors Association‘s first gun show of the year.


Most of the day it was elbow to elbow with gun show attendees at this event.

I should note that I have been attending this gun show for over 35 years.   I don’t make it every year, but I do try to make it most years as it is one of the bigger gun shows in southern Minnesota.   Today, the crowd I witnessed was hands down the busiest I have ever seen.   It appears with details on possible new gun control measures being disclosed as early as next Tuesday, many folks were not about to delay making their purchases much longer.

There was certainly much talk among the show attendees of what firearms restrictions might be in the near future.   Even though it was a rather solemn mood among those in attendance, I also witnessed a deeper resolve among nearly everyone that is starting to reach the boiling point.   Indeed, I did hear one dealer admit to a customer that we are inching closer to a point where gun owners may need to take it beyond just standing up and being heard.

Prices for high capacity magazines were quite reminiscent of what they were back during Federal Assault Weapons Ban, a law which sunset back in September 2004.   Magazines holding more than ten rounds that could have been purchased a few months ago for $20–$30 were now being offered for sale more in the $60–$75+ range.   I even seen one dealer peddling very well used 30rd AR-15 magazines for $50, although other dealers had them for sale in the $30–$35 range.


The public seemed to be in a buying mood despite the fact prices appear to be on the rise.

I guess the upshot what I took away from this show is there are no bargains to be had any longer.   Oh, sure, there may be bargains by today’s standards, but today’s standards are much different than they’ve been for many years.   It appears we are entering a new period in gun sales with a market that is highly volatile depending on what legislation may be pending or what rumor seems to be gaining traction.

One thing I did notice which I thought was sort of odd was the lack of Glocks.   Admittedly, I am not savvy when it comes to all facets of gun sales, but peering around the masses of people I sensed that Glocks of all models seemed to be more scarce than I would have expected.   Again, this may have just been an anomaly and may not be the actual case.


Some of the busiest dealers were those folks who cater to gun magazine sales. This show vendor had hundreds of mags like this for nearly any kind of gun.

I did hear several dealers discuss how certain ammunition is nearly impossible to get these days.   In fact, I preface this with a RUMOR ALERT, but one dealer in describing what his factory rep told him was that 5.56mm bulk ammo orders are so backed up that delivery wouldn’t be until 2015.   Yup, 2015!   Again, this comment was hearsay, but it exemplifies the sort of buzz that folks were hearing at the show.

In closing, I guess the one thing that surprised me was that there still are AR-15’s to be purchased.   I’ve heard some dealers say they just don’t have any as their inventory has been wiped out last month.   I suppose in some cases those modern sporting rifles were commanding a good price—probably nearly twice what they once were, but they are still available even at public shows like this one.

So, have you been to any gun shows lately?   What is the mood of your favorite gun dealer?   No doubt about it…we are living during interesting times that promise to only get more interesting in the days and weeks to come.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

When Money Flows Perception Is NOT Always Reality…

…Especially in politics.

This news item has been out there now for a couple weeks, but each time I see it the whole crux of it sort of rubs me the wrong way.   Take a read:

MINNEAPOLIS – Sen. Amy Klobuchar says Minnesota is getting over $25 million in federal money for conservation projects and hunter education.

A statement from her office says Minnesota will receive $13.7 million for fish habitat restoration, $9.6 million for wildlife restoration and $2 million for hunter education. The funds are coming from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.

Klobuchar says the money will help protect land, water, and wildlife habitats so the state can enjoy them for generations to come.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program works to conserve and manage fish and wildlife and their habitats.

The state is expected to use some of the funds for technical assistance, instructor training, curriculum development and other support for the Minnesota Hunter Recruitment and Retention Program.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune (Feb. 20. 2011)

In this carefully crafted news item from our wonderful DFL Senator Klobuchar, it makes things sound as though thanks to her relentless efforts the great sportsmen of Minnesota are getting all this money for programs near and dear to our hearts.   Of course, she doesn’t come right out and take credit for it…but the perception in her announcement is she must have had something to do with getting this money earmarked back to her constituents.   Agree?

Fact of the matter is you’re expecting me to say she had NOTHING to do with it.   Well, that wouldn’t be quite right.   You see, Klobuchar and her fellow Democrat counterpart, Senator Al Franken, both indirectly had lots to do with building up this special tax coffer.

Indeed, the money she is talking about is from the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration and Pittman-Robertson Acts and the news release Klobuchar’s office basically re-wrote was this one.   All of the numbers are true…but they have been coming back to our state like this for well over a half Century.

What Klobuchar should have taken credit for in her press release is the fact that her political party has helped to build this specific tax coffer to unprecedented levels, and this during a time when our economy has been largely in crisis during recent years.   How did they do it?   Simple.   The Democrats, led by the 2009 “Gun Salesman of the Year,” Obama, helped to spur vigorous sales in firearms out of fear they would press for more strict gun control actions during his Presidency.

Seriously, if Senator Klobuchar wanted to make this announcement why wasn’t she also forthright with her constituents by saying something to the effect—although this money has flowed back to the states from taxes paid on sporting goods for several decades, you can thank my DFL caucus and me for the increased amount generated due to the fact we “scare the shit out of most gun owners” in this country.

Had she made that very truthful public admission…she would have gained at least a modicum of my respect.

©2011 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Should A Recent Gun-Related Tragedy Stifle Gun Rights Advocacy?

Case in point.   Do you think this ad recently mailed out by the Minnesota Republican Party is “too much” considering our current political climate?



Well, apparently according to this source, they claim some folks within the Minnesota Democratic Party feel this message is way “over-the-top” in the wake of the Tucson shootings.

Excuse me, since when did promoting our gun rights during an important political election—where such issues have great significance—get squelched by an unfortunate incident half-way across the country carried out by a mentally deranged individual?

Like me, do you find it a bit strange how “toning down the political rhetoric” now seems to mean the only talk about gun rights should be how they need to come under more strict controls or greater restrictions?

As sportsmen, we cannot let our proud heritage of gun ownership and use be so blatantly disregarded because we might hurt someone’s feelings.   This mailing was targeted (pun intended) to voters in a particular legislative district who happen to have a strong affinity toward gun ownership and the outdoors way of life.   To avoid discussion on this critical gun rights topic, for any reason, only serves to minimize the overall importance of the issue—which, of course, is what the political left always strives to accomplish.

Minnesota Democratic Party, if you’re truly worried about how people feel about issues why don’t you consider this.   Everything about this political ad speaks to our 2nd Amendment Constitutional rights and deserves to be considered in a public forum BEFORE AN ELECTION.   To behave in ways to suppress this important discussion—no matter how you rationalize doing it—shows the DFL party cares even less about the Constitutional Amendment that precedes the 2nd.

©2011 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction without Prior Permission.