Gun Shows In The United States
A gun show is a temporary exhibition or gathering in the United States where firearms, firearm accessories, ammunition, literature, knives, jerky, militaria, and miscellaneous collectibles are displayed, bought, sold, traded, and discussed. Gun shows also often include exhibitions related to hunting and the preparation and preservation of wild game for consumption. They also may be used by gun manufacturers to demonstrate new firearm models—or by gun enthusiasts to exhibit antique or unusual guns. Gun shows also serve as common and recurring meeting places for shooters to discuss gun culture topics such as the right to keep and bear arms.
Gun shows are typically held in public buildings, including hotels, malls, armories, stadiums, etc., and are open to the public with a nominal fee charged for admittance. They are almost always two-day events held on weekends by promoters who lease the space and allow dealers to rent tables to display their wares and/or advertise services they provide.
Under the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), firearm dealers with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) were prohibited from doing business at gun shows (they were only permitted to do business at the address listed on their license). That changed with the enactment of the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA), which allows FFLs to transfer firearms at gun shows provided they follow the provisions of the GCA and other pertinent federal regulations. The ATF reports that between 50% and 75% of the vendors at gun shows possess a Federal Firearms License.
In 2005, Michael Bouchard, Assistant Director/Field Operations of ATF, estimated that 5,000 gun shows take place each year in the United States. Most gun shows have 2,500 to 15,000 attendees over a two-day period. The number of tables at a gun show varies from as few as fifty to as many as 2,000. At the largest gun shows, over 1,000 firearms are sold over two days.
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