Best of the Carolina Gun Shows coming up
My first experience at a gun show was in the old War Memorial Coliseum, in Winston Salem. It stood where the current Lawrence Joel venue now is and was only a little larger than a basketball court. As a young man, I was fascinated by the array of guns and accessories that graced the eight foot tables of the vendors. This was in the days before the big box outdoor stores like Gander Mountain and Bass Pro Shops existed and, for the first time in my life, I could see and touch guns I’d only read about.
If I remember right, I went with some of my friends from school. There were tables of shotguns, rifles and pistols. Many were guns I’d only seen in magazines. Now, I could pick them up and feel them in my hand. Not only were the guns themselves interesting, but the men behind the tables had more knowledge than I could imagine. Some were competitive shooters, some collectors, and some simply lifelong gun-nuts, a term once used for anyone with a passion for firearms and shooting. Of course, there was a downside. The tables were cramped together, the lighting was terrible and there was no air conditioning. We moved down the aisles past all those incredible treasures as a sluggish human sea of mud.
I still attend gun shows and I’m a little more jaded these days but I always see young men and women who are experiencing the same level of awe I can still remember almost 50 years ago. What makes a gun show special is the same quality that makes a camper, boat, craft, or garden show exciting. It is all there, it’s close together, and you can shop from one vendor to another without getting in your car.
Of course, many tables have nothing at all for sale. Many collectors rent a table just to be able to display what they have and perhaps find something they don’t have and possibly make a trade. Other individuals rent a table to sell off guns and accessories they no longer need and for them to sell to another qualified individual is perfectly legal. I’ve rented tables many times for just this purpose. Some tables are covered with Colt pistols, or perhaps double barreled shotguns.
Of course, organizations also utilize gun shows. For many years, Piedmont Handgunner’s Association has used a table at gun shows as a way to promote their club and raise awareness to the club in the community. As a full service gun club here in the Triad, new shooters might not know about the club and what it has to offer. It’s also a chance for the club to let the public know about its participation in local charities and events like Enduring Gratitude, Young Marines, and the Children’s Home. Many gun shows give non-profits a discounted rate for tables in the same sense of community service.
The impetuous for writing this is that the best gun show in North Carolina is just a week or two away. The Greensboro Gun Show has been the standard by which Carolina gun shows are judged since the 80s. With hundreds of tables and good lighting. Dates for the show are August, 24 & 25, at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Show hours are Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The gun show is a great way to see old friends, check out the latest stuff as well as some of the oldest stuff. See you there.
Dick Jones is an award winning freelance writer living in High Point. He’s a member of the board of directors of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association. If you’d like to have him speak to your group, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org