April 15th was "Buy A Gun Day,"
and I realized I hadn't made any firearms-related purchases in awhile. So yesterday, with the spirit of BAG Day in mind, I did a little window shopping at a gun show on the South Florida Fairgrounds
Florida has a preemption statute (Fla. Stat. Section 790.33 (2009), if you're curious) forbidding local governments from creating their own gun regulations; there's an exception in the Florida Constitution, however, allowing them to enact waiting periods for firearms purchasers. AFAIK, the private sales prohibition is only enforceable because the gun show is being held on county property. As you might imagine, the county ordinances suck a lot of fun out of the gun show, but I pressed on anyway.
Ah, the concealed weapons permit class at the gun show. Call me crazy, but two hours is not a lot of time to instruct someone about the topics I'd expect in a basic CCW class: gun safety, gun handling, gun selection, holster selection, and the laws regarding carry and use of a firearm for lawful self-defense. You're probably much better off taking a day or weekend-long class at a brick-and-mortar establishment. For those who are experienced and just want the permit, though, I guess it's pretty convenient.
Finally we get into the gun show itself:
I've been at pitiful shows held in hotel conference rooms, gigantic shows held at state fairgrounds, and everything in between. This one was a medium size show, about a dozen or so major multi-table FFLs
, the usual smattering of ammo, accessory, and specialty gun sellers, and a small dose of miscellaneous stuff. Disappointingly, there was only one table selling reloading components, but several tables hawking the militaria and food products (jerky, anyone?) you've come to expect at the Fun Show.
I met Bill Plappert of Rhino Holsters, Inc., who was demonstrating some of the company's products. Rhino produces a line of OWB holsters where you weave your belt over, rather than below, the holster:
It's an interesting idea - having the holster attached on two sides (there's both a belt loop and a simple clip for the pants) certainly increases stability. The two obvious drawbacks are that you need an oversize belt (like in IWB carry) and that the holster and gun are exposed (like in OWB carry).
There were plenty of tables that weren't selling anything. Representatives from Okeechobee Shooting Sports
were simply handing out leaflets promoting their range (seems like a fun place to shoot - I'll probably visit them sometime). The ATF and NRA had tables, as well as various LEO and military charities.
I'm not sure if I'd ever visit this one again (the entry fee is a steep $8). For Palm Beach County, which often feels like somewhere in New York or New Jersey, I suppose it's about as good as you can get.