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Gun show returns to Turlock fairgrounds

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POSTED April 28, 2012 1:43 a.m.

First time visitors to the Turlock Gun Show might be surprised at what they see, said the event’s organizer, Peggy Smith of Code of the West Promotions.

“There are mainly hunters, but also a lot of families, along with guys that are collectors,” Smith said. “Some guys go to every show just for the camaraderie; they just like to talk guns. Some parents bring in young sons or daughters to learn about gun safety.”

Guns appeal to a wide cross-section of the population and that is what Smith said she sees every time the gun show comes to Turlock. Smith has been hosting gun shows in Turlock since 2008, after another promoter dropped the show and local dealers asked Code of the West to step in.

The Turlock Gun Show is usually a bi-annual event, but this year local gun lovers will have three chances to buy, sell and talk weapons — with the next one set for May 5-6 at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. The February show saw well over 3,000 visitors, said Smith, and she expects just as many people at the May show.

“Right now attendance at gun shows is up everywhere, not just with us, because it’s an election year,” Smith said. “(Gun owners) are worried about new laws that might come up.”

Along with a variety of vendors — both licensed firearm dealers and private party sellers — the Turlock Gun Show offers free appraisals.

“People bring in guns they’ve inherited and don’t know what to do with,” Smith said. “At one show in Bend, Ore., a guy brought in a set of matching guns that was valued at $85,000.”

Smith was quick to point out that Code of the West complies with all California and federal firearms laws and the guns shows she promotes all keep safety first. She said that there are often undercover Department of Justice agents at the shows and it would be the last place a gang member or any criminal would want to be seen trying to purchase a weapon.

“There’s a background check, you can’t just buy a gun and walk out,” Smith said.

Guns in general are not only gaining in popularity through events, but also on television. The History Channel has “Topshot,” a marksman competition where contestants use a variety of weapons; and the Discovery Channel has two shows that highlight weapons, “Sons of Guns” and “American Guns.” Both Discovery Channel shows feature the families and businesses that produce and sell guns.

209 staff reporter

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