LIMA — It’s been around a year since the last gun show was held at the Allen County Fairgrounds due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Saturday, the gun show was back.
“We were shut down for a year,” said Tom Baemel, treasurer of the Tri-State Gun Collectors. “(It’s) our first show since last March, and it feels real good to get back, and that’s what it’s about. We’ve got close to 2,000 members, and they want to come back. And we appreciate that; we really do as a club.”
Everyone had to wear a mask, and attendance was limited to 900 people in the four buildings that were open Saturday. That made for long lines for people to get into the gun show.
“A couple of the members told me this morning it was over an hour wait in line to get in. They’re dedicated,” Baemel said.
The demand for guns and ammunition fueled the high numbers at the gun show.
“Politics change, and there’s a big demand, and then everybody has this hoarding effect. They want to get all they can get while they can get it and hence, you got a crowd,” Baemel said.
The fear of what the Biden administration might do is fueling some of the rush to buy guns and ammo.
“He’s going to control guns and gun shows, and that’s his focus. And Harris, his partner, claims that she will shut down gun shows. I don’t think that will happen, but we’ve got to support the NRA. That’s our only dog in the fight, so to speak,” Baemel said.
There were fewer vendors, as there had to be some social distancing between them.
“Usually we have around 400, 425. We’re down to 300 because of social distancing. That’s why we have empty tables. These tables normally are filled, but they can’t be because of the restraints that they put on,” Baemel said.
Jeff Jacomet, who owns Greyfox Defense LLC in Delphos, was there selling ammo, a commodity in high demand among gun enthusiasts.
“It’s a combination of the (presidential) administration, the shortage in lead, the general panic of people. We get a lot of people that don’t really appreciate guns that want them now, which is kind of a big switch,” Jacomet said. “It’s a series of unfortunate events, I guess, kind of all meshed together and made it to what it is now.”
Jacomet is thankful to have the shows back open.
“It’s great. It’s long past due. The prices are crazy, but it is what it is, and trying to get out and get everybody accommodated,” Jacomet said.
The gun show continues on Sunday, when the show is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, children under 18 are free. Members are also free.
The next gun show is scheduled for April 3 and 4 at the Allen County Fairgrounds.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.