LIMA — President Barack Obama said he is mulling potential executive action regarding tighter control on gun sellers, and for sellers at the Tri-State Gun Show, which occurred over the weekend at the Allen County Fairgrounds, that announcement was marketing gold.
“People just feel like they’re not being protected by the government anymore, unfortunately,” according to Tri-State Gun Collectors President Tom Holycross. “It’s made our sales here unbelievable. Every time the government says or does something that the people don’t go by, the people react by buying.”
That urgency was felt Saturday morning after the show opened, with traffic described as “elbow to elbow” in the four buildings housing the show. Customers spent the day browsing the more than 400 tables of merchandise, ranging from modern-day handguns and rifles to ammunition to vintage collectibles.
“We have a good show here,” Holycross said. “We have a waiting list for dealers, and if the fairgrounds had additional facilities, we could probably fill them. We’re to the brim right now.”
A recent trend that Holycross and other sellers have noticed is an increase in female gun buyers, with many buying for concealed carry or home defense purposes.
“They’re coming with their husbands or friends and looking at what they would like to carry,” he said. “When they take a concealed carry course, they get the chance to look at both revolvers and semi-automatics and they can find out what they’re comfortable with. Then they can come here and know what they want.”
The weekend has been very profitable so far for many of the vendors, including Lester Salisbury, owner of S&S Muzzleloading Shop in Rockford.
“I’ve already sold two of my most expensive pieces,” he said. “One of them was $1,500, straight cash.”
Brian Overholt, co-owner of Guns & Rosa’s Targets in Albany, Indiana, encouraged anyone interested in gun ownership to check out the show after learning what gun might fit them the best.
“I would suggest for people to go to an indoor gun range, and a lot of those are also gun shops, and you can actually rent guns to try out,” he said. “Get the proper training. I would recommend that to anybody.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.