Gun law changes have little impact on local show

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Changes in Colorado law brought a new aspect to the show: Background checks for potential gun sellers.

"This is the first year that we were comprised completely of gun dealers," said Carl Hoffman, show organizer and owner of Skull Creek Trading Co. "We didn't have booths for private sellers this year, and I think that made things easier as far as the background checks were concerned."

It takes less than 15 minutes to conduct a background check, and at this show, no potential buyers were turned away due to prior felony convictions.

"Truthfully, it can be a pain in the butt, but it is something that we have to do," said Nick Kamzalow, owner of Outdoor Connections. "Although it is somewhat of an inconvenience, it is important to do. I think that most of the people who have convictions are aware of the background checks that shows do now, so that keeps them from attending."

Kamzalow also sees a difference in the show with the format switching to a licensed dealer-only policy on the sale of guns.

"People can still sell their guns just not at shows," he said. "People can still sell up to six guns a year, which, in my opinion, is a good thing, because the opportunity is still there to be a private trader.

"Out of all the millions and millions of transactions that take place throughout the U.S. every year at gun shows, people are probably more apt to run into problems with faulty filet knives, than they are with having to turn people down due to having a felony record."

Aside from guns, this year's show offered participants the opportunity to browse through knives, military equipment, ammunition, coins, jewelry, archery, and of course, a fair share of tall tales.

"We were really happy with the turnout that we had at this spring's show," Hoffman said. "From the counts that we took, we had a turnout of about 900 people, which is the best we have ever done."

Hoffman believes the wide variety of products being offered was one of the reasons for the increased attendance. This year's show focused more on the entire outdoor experience, rather than just the shooting sports.

"I think that when people see the words 'Gun Show', there is often a stigma that exists," he said. "But this year, we wanted to make it more of an experience that catered to everyone. We made an attempt to offer everything from guns and knives, to fishing equipment and western and cowboy gear.

"It was neat to be able to see someone purchase a gun, walk down the aisle, purchase a holster, and make a stop a little further down for some fishing equipment.

"When you get a bunch of private dealers at a show, it ends up being guns, guns, guns," he said. "But when we can open it up somewhat, it helps to make it more of a sports show, which eliminates some of that gun show stigma."

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