Guy Goes To Gun Show, Learns You Can Get A Flamethrower. And That People Are Nice. And He’s Been Told Lies

Craig McCarthy of NJ Advance Media decided to check out a gun show to see what really happens, and learned that things aren’t quite what he read about via anti-gun propoganda. Good on him for going through with the article, because so many other reporters would have either spun this in a gun grabber manner, only discussing The Worst Ever, or just spiked it

‘Can I buy that flamethrower?’ and other burning questions I had at my first gun show

In the back of the Allstar Family Fun & Events Complex in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, past the skeeball tables and arcade games, dozens of dealers are set up in the 48,000-square-foot space, and all of them are trying to put a firearm in my hand.

Handguns are locked in glass cases and a handful of matte-black AR-15-like rifles, advertised as Jersey-legal, sit innocently on stands pointing out toward potential buyers.

There are hundreds of bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns tied-off with zip ties, all carefully laid-out and meticulously arranged on sturdy folding tables, topped with camo, black, red or blue tablecloths.

The sellers and I talk about “scary” guns, the “stupid” laws that limited accessorizing rifles and how not feeling a black holster on their belt makes them feel unsettled, unsafe or anxious.

And I listen to it all — the unsolicited takes on the presidency of Donald Trump, the headlines that have dominated news cycle after news cycle, Russians and the deep state.

Then I saw it: A flamethrower.

Yeah, someone was actually selling a flamethrower. It was $999, and is actually legal in 48 states. It also looks like a colossal waste of money, and certainly not any good for personal or home defense (unless you have a spider). But, then, how many signed up to purchase Elon Musks’s so-called flamethrower?

Why’d I go? I feel undereducated on the pro-gun side of the contentious national debate, so I convinced my editors to let me take the drive.

I really want to understand the gun culture.

At the show, I tell the sellers, “I am shooting a gun for the first time next week.”

“So, you are coming over to our side?” asks Bill Green, one of the vendors who welcomes me.

“Oh, you’re going to love it,” Norsela Cole says with a smile before reminiscing about the first time she shot a gun: her husband’s .22 in their backyard.

Sounds like they were being pretty nice. Anyhow, Mr. McCarthy offers up a few quotes from those right wing gun folks, even going so far as to write that this is the “antithesis of Childish Gambino’s country featured in his recent music video.” But, the important part is that he wanted to see about buying guns, since NJ is super restrictive (depending on the list, NJ is always somewhere in the top 7) on guns, and does not allow gun shows.

In Pennsylvania, gun shows are an extension of a licensed seller’s shop.

“You are in my store right now,” John Tidd says.

Background checks are required by law for every purchase from a business with a Federal Firearms License, often referred to as an FFL.

Sellers are responsible for knowing all the different laws in each state. They say, if they sold one in error, they would be tasked with retrieving the gun from that buyer from where ever they live.

McCarthy finds there is no gun show loophole, at least in Pa., and in particular at this gun show, because everyone is a dealer, and would be risking their ATF license, their business license, and felony charges if they didn’t follow all applicable laws. He also learns that it would be rather difficult to purchase a handgun for use in New Jersey, and there’s no way around it. Further, many dealers just plain refuse to sell handguns to people outside of the state, particularly NJ.

Oh, and he could buy a long gun. Because he already had his firearms identification card from his municipal police department. But, quite a few do not have NJ approved rifles (mags that only hold 15, no flash suppressor, no adjustable stock.

When I leave, I feel as if I understand the gun culture more, at least in this area, after the open and friendly conversations.

They all agree background checks are important, and they agree there’s an issue that needs to be addressed with gun ownership and mental health.

He also learns that gun owners want a dialogue, but, that can’t happen in the current political environment. Which is surely doing a soft shoe dance, because 2nd Amendment supporters can’t give in on even minor things, because the gun grabbers will just want more and more and more.

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