Can I bring my gun to the Gun Show?
When talking to people at the gun show about what holster they are looking for, I usually ask them if they have brought their gun with them. If it’s a lesser known or rarer gun, you may need to have it handy to get a good holster fit. Many people are under the impression that they are not allowed to bring their guns into the gun show. In the vast majority of cases, nothing could be farther from the truth!
We are all 2A here
There is no such thing as a gun show that’s ran by anti-gun types. We are all 2A types to some degree or another, or we wouldn’t be there. There is an etiquette to be followed when preparing to go to the gun show with your weapon.
Why do this?
There are many reasons why you might want to bring your gun to the gun show. Perhaps you want to sell it, or perhaps you want to trade it for something more to your liking. You might be looking for a gunsmith to do some work, or put on a new coating or bluing on your gun. Perhaps (as is usually in my case), you want to get a new holster for concealed carry.
The common element among all of those scenarios, is that people will be handling your gun at the gun show. You may be passing it over to others, you may be handling it yourself. The best way to handle this situation is to make sure that any gun that will be handled is unloaded. To both verify this, and to make it easy to visually check that the gun is unloaded, guns are “tied off” with zip ties.
Tying off a Gun
There are many, many ways to “tie off” a gun, and most shows have their own ways that they want to see it done. Because of this, there really is very little incentive for you to “tie off” your gun. It’s easier to just let the show officials do it for you.
The general rule for this situation, is to make sure that your guns are empty before you walk into the gun show. You hand them to the officers working the gun check table. The officers examine the weapons to insure that they are unloaded. They then zip tie the guns to show their empty status. Next they typically put a “mark” such as a special sticker or label on the gun. This is to show that the gun came in the door with you.
It is possible to unload the gun while standing at the gun check table. However, if you choose to do it this way, please heed the following sign:
I know, I know. You are smarter than that. However, there was someone, somewhere, that wasn’t. And you may be handing your weapon to them at the show. This is why we have the gun tie-off rules.
Once you are cleared
Once in the show, go ahead and do what you came to do. Just leave the zip strip in place while you do it. Sometimes, when fitting holsters, zip ties get in the way. It’s typically permissible to remove zip ties temporarily when fitting, so long as they are replaced before you leave the vendor. Make sure to ask the vendor if they have spare zip ties to retie your weapon after doing this.
Time to Go
Ready to leave? No problem! You don’t need to check in with the gun check table before leaving. Show personnel may check your guns to see if they are properly marked. Remember that label that they put on the gun when you came in? This is an anti-theft measure, to ensure that people don’t just “pick up a gun” laying on a table and walk out the door, claiming it’s theirs. So long as the gun is properly labeled, or you have the sales invoice where you bought it at the show, it’s on to the parking lot.
In most areas, you can remove the zip ties once you head for the door. You can also load back up at this time if you want. I would suggest that you wait until you get to your car in most cases, though. There really isn’t any point in making passers by nervous from seeing people walking out loading guns. You and I both know we aren’t looking to cause trouble. But why tempt fate?
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