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Shows offers glimpse into past, firearms information

by KELLIE RISSO / Contributing Writer
| April 20, 2024 1:00 AM

Gun shows are widely attended throughout our country with about 2,000 scheduled events in the United States each year.

They draw in all types of gun owners, those interested in firearms for self-defense, hunting, shooting sports, recreation, or collection, or maybe even those who are curious and who want to learn about the industry or even learn about exercising their Second Amendment Rights.

It’s a place for guns to be bought or sold and where new gun owners can learn more about the latest firearms and ask questions. These events are alive and vibrant with conversation, in my experience at several shows throughout our country the vendors are both accommodating and very helpful, and enthusiastic to share their knowledge with anyone who has a question. As a firearms instructor with three National Rifle Association credentials to my name, I’ll never know it all in this gun gig industry. I’m not bored and am always learning something new.  

Most of the firearms at the shows in North Idaho are that of long arms used by the region’s settlers and represent the 18th and 19th-century firearms development. The vendors present an array of antique guns, newer firearms, accouterments, swords, and related items such as books, gold mining tools, coins and survival equipment.

There are some vendors who may bring items of historical significance only to display and educate the general public. 

David Jones has been coming to the show for years as a vendor. He and his family moved here about the time I did from San Francisco 15 years ago, although he and his family moved from a different state. Mr. Jones has been a gun enthusiast and collector for most of his life. Anyone who stops by his booth and pulls up a chair will not only get a history lesson, but they'll have a new friend, too! His pieces are of incredible significance and captivating to look at. Some of those being Smith and Wesson’s; Model 3 (the six-shot single action type) the revolvers were popular with ranchers, lawmen and outlaws alike back in the day.  

While there are hundreds of makes and models of firearms at a show, I myself have to pause and wonder if some were used to tame the wild frontier back in the day. What intrigues me the most is the ingenuity and craftsmanship of these arms and the engineering that went into them, along with the history of the Old West and glimmers of our past. It’s not just about a gun show, it’s about the people, the heritage, the history, the westward movement and that of the communities both now and then.

The attraction to bring visitors to a community is a way of generating revenue for local businesses, it’s an opportunity for all to entice repeat visits the next time the gun show comes to town. It’s The Draw! 

Some of the vendors in this region come from Montana, Oregon, Lewiston, Idaho and Spokane, Wash., and many of the patrons come from all over the inland northwest too! 

Hope to see you at a show!


Kellie Risso writes "The Draw," which offers information about firearms education and information as well as the sport of shooting.