I was mildly alarmed when I saw that the gun show was directly across the street from a Cat Show, especially since Robin Hood and a lot of other gun owners are self-professed dog people. But I was determined to keep an optimistic and open mind. I was here to learn things, engage in some stellar people-watching, and maybe even enjoy myself.
Robin Hood and I walked through the doors of the Expo New Mexico building and immediately had to check in — that is, Robin Hood had to get his guns tagged. Before you go thinking that my boyfriend is the kind of man who routinely swaggers around dripping with firearms, know that gun shows (as I have officially learned!) are the kind of event where you can not only buy guns, but also sell them, whether to vendors or other “average Joe” attendees. The authorities, understandably, want to keep track of which firearms are being taken into and out of the show, thus the need for the tags.
Once Robin Hood and the guns he wanted to sell had completed that staging process, we paid our admission, and…
I can’t think of an entirely fitting comparison for what spread before us. It was somewhere between the pre-race expo of a large marathon and an indoor flea market. There were people and guns everywhere. The people spanned all kinds and all ages, and the guns? Actually, the same can be said of the guns. And there weren’t just guns. There were gun accessories. There were tables stacked high with neatly-arranged towers of ammunition boxes. There were books about guns. There were conceal/carry purses for the ladies. There were, God bless them, jewelry vendors.
I tried my best to look casual, although it’s hard to look casual when you have a pellet gun slung against your shoulder while your man examines rifles. We moseyed our way up and down the aisles, Robin Hood chatting with the vendors, poking around the displays and trying to strike deals, and me trying to absorb at least a fraction of what I saw and heard. Let’s just say I was glad the show had food and coffee vendors.
The one thing lacking, which I would have loved to see, was a booth geared toward women (the conceal/carry purse vendors notwithstanding). I know there are LOTS of women out there who are expert gun handlers and don’t need or want special catering. However, I bet there are also LOTS of women out there who are brand-new to this whole gun thing, who are curious, who fully understand the seriousness of guns, who do not wish to be judged for considering a pink gun, and who would frankly appreciate a tiny bit of special catering.
After three and a half hours, Robin Hood and I had finally had our fill. He had sold several guns, so he was happy. I had found a treasure of my own (not a gun — not this time), so I was happy.
Would I go to another gun show? Sure I would. I learned a lot, I met some interesting people, and I got to see Robin Hood in his element.
As for the cats across the street? Don’t worry. They were fine.