On Saturday I went to the Orlando Gun Show. I was in search of a few items that I thought I could get at the event. No, not guns. I was surprised by what I saw, especially after the recent gun killings. Today’s post is not about guns, or gun control. That post is for another day. Today I’d like to share a few observations about the gun show.

The first observation is the obvious one. Are gun enthusiast worried about gun legislation in light of the recent shootings? I was at a gun show while there were rumors that the Obama Administration was going to enact gun legislation. Gun enthusiasts were then worried about their guns as evidenced by the signage imploring gun owners to act now before Obama took their guns away. Prices for guns reflected the fear that the guns would be taken away.

This time, there was no evident fear of gun legislation present at the Orlando gun show. The prices for guns were less than what I had seen before. The inventory was large. It did not appear that people were rushing to buy guns.

It was as if no one is worried about an assault weapon ban or enhanced background checks.

I did not see a single sign imploring people to safeguard their right to own guns.

Even the NRA both was focused on building up their membership not with doom and gloom about gun control but with free giveaways for signing up.

From my point of view, it didn’t seem that gun control was an issue worrying gun enthusiasts.

I also noticed that except for about three individuals selling their guns via the “gun show loophole” all the other gun purchases were being processed through the federal background check systems. The three individuals seem to be selling only one gun each.

But guns weren’t the only thing that caught my eye.

I went to the gun show because I was looking for a few U.S.-made quality things. I did not want Chinese products that are all over Amazon. I wanted U.S.-made items on my list.

One of those is a quality lensatic compass. I am looking for a U.S.-military spec Tritium “3H” compass. I want the U.S.-made one as it uses Tritium, not phosphorous and is waterproof. The Chinese knockoffs are not the same quality. I went to the gun show in hopes of scoring one because gun shows tend to carry military-spec products, or even official military surplus.

Everything was Chinese. It was extremely difficult to find anything (except for guns for obvious reasons) that was not Chinese.

I found this curious because China tends to be the boogey-man in Trump’s orbit currently.

It is no secret that gun shows tend to be Donald Trump havens.

There were many sellers peddling Trump paraphernalia. There were huge selections of “MAGA”-related products on sale. Hats, bumper stickers, posters, you name it, there was “MAGA” products. Even fake dollar bills bearing Donald Trump mugs, including a few fake gold-colored ones. Even huge posters sporting a Trump face surrounded by patriot motifs.

Clearly, Trump was front and center at this gun show.

But it was curios to me that the products being peddled were mostly Chinese.

At one stall, a salesman tried to convince me to buy a $100 “tactical” backpack although it was Chinese made. I inquired about a U.S.-made one and he proceeded to tell me how much better the Chinese one was over its U.S. counterparts. He had the audacity to tell me that as “soon as a soldier can afford it,” he rids himself of the Army-supplied backpack and “buys one of these babies because they are superior to what the Army gives them.”

I know he was focused on parting me from my $100 bill.

But as I was listening to him, I couldn’t help but imagine a Chinese overlord looking at his charges slave away making the backpacks; delivering one for the Chinese soldier and another one for the U.S. consumer who pays for both, i.e. U.S. consumers paying for arming the Chinese Army.

This may or may not be true, but the thought did cross my mind.

I walked out of the gun show after purchasing three items, three cool metal sporks made in the U.S.

As for the other stuff I was looking for – it was all Chinese, including the compasses.

So much for the Chinese tariffs and the renaissance of U.S. manufacturing.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

One reply on “Observations from the Gun Show”

  1. Thanks for this. Reality is frequently stranger than hype. I once belonged to the NRA c1961 when i was in high school. Then it was about hunting, gun safety and collecting antique firearms.

    Times have changed.

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