Gun show sets attendance mark

To say a new attendance mark was established at the 42nd annual Gun and Knife Show presented by the Minot Rifle and Pistol Club March 22-23 would be an understatement. A large gathering was waiting for the doors to open for the first day of the event. The total paid attendance, 3,400, shattered previous records for the show.

“Normal attendance would be 2,000 for the two days,” said Bruce Wolla, show supervisor. “They were lined up like Black Friday when the doors opened on Saturday. We probably had the largest gun show Minot has ever had.”

Interest in the spring Gun and Knife Show was high from vendors too. A good showing for display tables is considered about 220. Vendors utilized 260 tables at the recent show. Wolla said the increased interest is almost certainly a result of political activism.

“I believe a lot of the interest is because of news coming from Capitol Hill at not being able to buy ammunition and the issue of background checks,” surmised Wolla.

Background checks were conducted by Federal Firearms License dealers during the show. Background checks are not mandated for individual sellers. Tables were divided among those offering items for sale and those putting items on display. One of the top-rated displays was a collection of hi-grade engraved Winchester rifles.

“That was a better display than you’ll see at big shows like those in Denver, Tulsa or Las Vegas,” remarked Wolla. “All the displays were wonderful.”

Many of the visitors to the show were seeking to purchases ammunition in a variety of calibers due to an existing shortage. The few vendors that had some surplus ammunition to sell quickly dispensed their supply.

“A vendor from South Dakota had some .223 and bricks of .22s. The .22s were going for $60 a brick,” said Wolla. “He said he’s been doing gun shows for 12 years and the Minot show was the best he’s ever done.”

The Minot Rifle and Pistol Club hosts two gun shows a year, one usually in March and the other in late November.