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Colorado Springs gun show draws a crowd, but fears have subsided

August 12, 2017 Updated: August 12, 2017 at 5:29 pm
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Colorado Springs Gun & Knife Show is being held at the Colorado Springs Event Center, 3960 Palmer Park Blvd this weekend. (2013 File photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette)

Standing under 5 feet tall and weighing just 85 pounds, Mary Hoselton said she carries her handgun, a Smith & Wesson .38 special, everywhere.

Everywhere, except the gun show.

Hoselton and her husband wandered between tables of rifles, pistols, knives and memorabilia Saturday during the Colorado Springs Gun & Knife Show at the Colorado Springs Event Center, 3960 Palmer Park Blvd. To them, the event is just as much social as it is educational, she said. It's also an opportunity to hunt for anything they might need to buy.

Each of the hundreds of customers passing through the center's doors were quickly asked if they were carrying a weapon. Had Hoselton brought her pistol, she said, it would have been tagged and a zip tie would have been placed behind the trigger to keep the weapon from being fired.

It's not worth the hassle, Hoselton said.

"And I know I'm safe here," she added.

Business was steady Saturday for the gun show, which will last through Sunday, said Kevin Hummer, CEO of both the show and the event center.

Steady, but not booming. Not like it was during President Barack Obama's administration, Hummer said.

"Oh my God, it was crazy," he said, recalling the past eight years.

During Obama's administration prices and availability fluctuated heavily because so many gun owners were afraid of tightening regulations or of their weapons being confiscated, Hummer said.

But with President Donald Trump, it's a different story, he said. Prices have flattened. The market's volatility has died down.

"Now's the time to buy guns and ammunition, because it's so stable right now," he said. "Now people feel safe with their guns. You have confidence out there. They don't have the fear of their guns being regulated down."

During Obama's two terms as president, no single piece of legislation significantly restricting gun owners' rights was enacted.

One piece of recent legislation has made a significant impact on Tim Henry's business, though.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bipartisan bill into law in March ending the state's ban on switchblades and gravity knives, which can be opened quickly from a concealed position. The law took effect on Wednesday, which brought Henry and his Arizona-based business, Big Boy Knives, into town for the first time.

Switchblades, automatic and butterfly knives were among the dozens of blades laid out over Henry's tables.

"Just like when we were in school," Henry said to one gray-haired man examining a switchblade.

The majority of Henry's switchblade customers buy the knives for a sense of nostalgia, he said.

"They're for the memories, for people in our demographic," Henry said.

Many of his customers pay attention to the laws and know when a change is coming into effect, Henry said. He echoed the sentiment that many of the gun shows he visits have been steady over the past months, rather than jam packed.

"Obama was the best thing in the world for the gun shows," he said. "Fear of loss. That's what sells everything."

Despite the political fervor on both sides of the fence, Hoselton said as a customer she hasn't noticed a huge change in the last decade. Ammunition may be a bit easier to find, she said. But with all things considered the events are just as educational, fun and open as they ever have been. Anyone can come and anyone can have a gun in their lives, she said.

"I've seen young people, old people, babies, children, everybody," she said. "Even just curious people. They want to learn about guns. They want to come see. But most importantly, don't carry one if you don't know how to use it."

Hummer, whose is poised to double the size of his event center to 92,000 square feet in two weeks, said he hosts about nine gun shows each year.

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