Gun show draws a crowd, opinions
BY AD CRABLE, Staff Writer
For Stephanie and Michael Reider, who traveled from Reading to Lancaster on Sunday to attend their first gun show, the draw was an earnest quest for ammo.
Since the Newtown, Conn., shootings -- and with the subsequent debate about gun control -- a run on ammo has made it difficult for the Reiders to secure rounds of ammunition for their handguns, which they own for fun and protection.
Thus, the couple found themselves at the two-day Lancaster County Gun Show, held at the Lancaster County Convention Center.
Stephanie Reider left the show on Sunday with 100 rounds for her .380-caliber handgun.
Like others inside the show, which featured 300 tables of everything from necklaces made out of bullet casings to pink kids' rifles, the Reiders were pleased to see the defeat last week of a U.S. Senate measure that would have required background checks on all commercial sales of guns.
"The bills they're trying to pass are only going to affect the law-abiding people," said Michael Reider, 38.
Thomas Weimann, owner of Backwoods Outfitters in Columbia, added derisively, "Too much logic entered the discussion and outweighed the emotion."
And Pearl Nudy, the show's promoter, ventured, "You can't write a law against crazy or evil people."
The largest hunting and fishing show in North America recently was canceled in Harrisburg because of a boycott by exhibitors after the show's owners forbade the sale and display of semi-automatic military-style rifles.
So this weekend's second annual gun show by Valley Forge Gun Collectors Inc. was an outlet for gun enthusiasts.
A show slogan was "Muzzle Loaders to Machine Guns." On Sunday, the show was held next to a regional U.S. Tournament of Dance competition.
Several gun exhibitors said attendance was unexpectedly slow; Nudy said she wouldn't have attendance figures for several days.
The gun vendors interviewed agreed that the "craziness" of gun hoarding and ammo shortages of recent months was ending. It was brought on by fears that the government would ban "assault-type" semiautomatic rifles and magazines holding rounds of more than 10.
John Sherman of Stonybrook Shooting Supplies of York brought three dozen military-type rifles to the show and sold only one.
"A lot of people have already bought one," he said.
As an example of how the run on guns and ammo is waning, Weimann said next week he will be putting an AR-15 military rifle on the shelf of his store for the first time since January.
Until now, each AR-15 he was able to obtain from a manufacturer went directly to someone on a waiting list that stretched to about 200.
Nudy said 95 percent of the vendors sold new and antique guns and related accessories.
Gun owners were invited to bring their firearms to have them valued or sold for cash. That's what Matt Charles of Mountville did.
But he was told his Colt M4 semiautomatic rifle wasn't as valuable as it was several months ago.
He exited the convention center onto South Queen Street, along with his wife, Erica, holding his 2-year-old daughter, Katelyn, by the hand with the rifle strapped across his back.