After national debate, gun show comes to town
WORTHINGTON -- The 7th Annual Worthington Gun Show was held on Saturday at the Worthington Ice Arena and was sponsored by the Agribusiness Committee of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce.
The event serves as the Agribusiness Committee's only fundraiser for their scholarship program
Compared to having food booths at multiple festivals throughout the year, the gun show has proven to be a more effective way of raising funds, explained member of the Agribusiness Committee and coordinator of the gun show, Randy Thompson.
The event has always been held on the third weekend of April, and while there are other gun shows going on the same weekend that pull away some vendors, Thompson said this weekend works best for them.
"We can't do it much earlier because the arena staff needs time to clear the ice for us," Thompson added.
This year, the Agribusiness Committee was unsure if they would be able to host the show due to initially low sign-up numbers.
"Our vendor sign-up was a bit slow this year, but we picked up quite a few vendors in the last ten days or two weeks, and we've got 78 tables set up - a little bit down from last year when we had around 85," he said.
Returning vendor, 1 More Gun, is a "dealership that specializes in conceal and carry guns, and self-defense guns," said 1 More Gun manager and partner Mike, who asked that his last name not be used. Mike added their dealership is also able to order other types of firearms if requested by a customer.
He said sales had been good at the show and people come to him with individual needs.
"There is no trend, it's very individualized, depending on what people are looking for," he said.
Organizers and vendors noted a lack of merchandise due to high demand and low manufacturer production.
"Inventories are extremely low for gun dealers, because manufacture's supply to suppliers is way low, and there are a million reasons for that - you don't know who to blame," Mike said.
With the uncertainty regarding future gun laws, Mike explained manufactures are hesitant to produce large quantities of firearms.
"I think it's understandable with manufactures not knowing what they are going to be able to sell in the future," he said.
"It becomes an impossible supply to an impossible demand," he added.
Like many firearms dealers, Bret Mace, a private vendor selling collectable firearms, said that the current debates about firearms regulations have helped rather than hinder his business.
"It's been good for (business) -- the scare that's going on -- people are trying to acquire as many firearms as they can," he said.
While the primary focus of the gun show was on buying and selling firearms, other similar vendors were also present. Brian Monier, owner of Monier's Hydrographics and first time vendor at the Worthington Gun Show, displayed guns with custom hydrographic designs on them.
"I'm not selling guns, but I do the camouflage work. Its 3D dimensional, water image printing, and it's a film that you lay on the water to activate it and then place on the gun," he explained.
Monier said he can put designs on "pretty much anything," from guns, to car parts, to helmets. Popular designs include camouflage, skull patterns and carbon fiber --"there are thousands of patterns," he added.
Both organizers of the event and vendors stressed the how seriously safety and firearm responsibility is taken at firearms shows.
At the Worthington Gun Show, guns brought in by anyone attending the event were checked and tagged at the door, security was on duty throughout the show, no one was allowed to carry hand guns except security, children under 18 were not allowed and all federal, state and local laws were strictly enforced.
"We take people's safety very seriously and don't contribute to the perception of a problem - I don't think there is a problem, but I think there is a perception," Mike said.
Daily Globe reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.