The gun show was extremely full. Two-way traffic was not possible down most aisles -- you went with the prevailing direction of travel or you didn't go.
The demographic trends I have noticed at previous shows are continuing: more women, more people of color, more (and more-varied) families and, this time around, more hipsters: yes, young men with fancy mustaches and man-buns, in skinny jeans and so on. There was a clutch of bikers and plenty of members of one of the least-visible demographics in shooting: African-American hunters. (Spend enough time in a gun store with a good stock in shotguns* and you'll meet these guys: quiet, serious, knowledgeable and all but invisible to the general public, let alone the media.)
One of the most demographically-assorted tables is a new one these past three-four shows: the Indiana State Police are set up, taking applications for Indiana's gun permit, the License To Carry Handgun. Given the history of Indiana's gun laws (it used to be barely legal to carry an unloaded pistol to the practice range without a permit!), maybe it's just that all the "old, white guys" already have their permits, but the application table runs heavily to anything but.
The largest seller of "morale patches" at the show has added a rainbow flag to their stock of full- and subdued-color national and state flag patches -- no camo-colored version of the rainbow...yet. No one standing there acting outraged about it, either.
Supporters of various Presidential candidates were much in evidence -- I spotted flacks for Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump -- along with tables for various Federal and State-level offices. They were not doing a land-office business. Maybe it's the plethora of GOP candidates; people looked more annoyed than interested.
And that's a gunshow in the middle of the Midwest in 2016. The people get along; the place is too crowded to do anything but smile and make room for others. Is it a festival of universal love for your fellowman? Nope; the fireworks-selling jerk with a smirk and Nazi-named smoke powder still has his shiny-new stacks of "The Turner Diaries" (seemingly undiminished) and doesn't much notice the people bouncing away from his table on spotting them, and the sheet-ruining outfit with a creepy table of black-powder pistols, Cowboy Action props and segregation-era washroom/drinking fountain signage (seriously, WTF?) continue to show up, like a brass-plated turd in in punchbowl. They, too, get visibly fewer browsers than other sellers.
Even with that, the gun show looks like Indiana: not without its bad spots, but encompassing the entire panoply of humankind, generally smiling and being not-unfriendly to one another, generally finding what they were looking for and willing to live and let live. You could ask for more, but you're not going to get it.
Oh, the sellers I mentioned in my previous post? The obviously-a-collector guy was there and happy; the other fellow was not, but Tam points out he does carry a good line of classic S&Ws, and might've been down at the National Gun Day show in Louisville this weekend.
* Indiana, not so much for the high-powered hunting rifle. If you want to hunt deer here, you'll need a shotgun -- or a crossbow.
6 months ago