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Gun shows: Valuable part of county life

On Saturday, May 4, The Union reported that a man may have conducted an unlawful transaction at our Feb. 9 gun show. He sold two SKS rifles that he apparently thought were legal to sell. They weren’t. California Department of Justice agents took the guns from the buyer, returned them to the seller, and told the seller to get rid of them. No big deal, but five days later the DOJ searched the man’s house, seized the guns, and filed a number of felony charges related to the rifles and other so-called assault rifles and gun parts.

It makes the guy look like a Nevada County terrorist, doesn’t it? Surely he’s not, but he certainly caught the eye of the DOJ, and they were just doing their job. I don’t think the charges will hold up and he’ll be exonerated in court.

So why bring this up? Because there are people who oppose holding gun shows at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. These folks may use the incident to agitate for banning the shows, something they attempted unsuccessfully last December.



Simply put, that’s stupid, and should be vigorously opposed. These people use strong emotions, false reasoning, and bad science to form their views.

They may find the idea of people owning firearms emotionally upsetting. This might spring from fear or maybe the loss of a loved one. Some might feel that as a society we have moved beyond the need to own and use guns. Once convinced of this, they may be intolerant of those with different views.




If they reason falsely, they will believe that if someone breaks the law at a gun show, the gun show should be banned. After all, if there’s no gun show, bad people won’t buy guns and hurt anyone. By this reasoning, if we shut down the liquor stores, alcoholism would disappear. If we stopped selling cars, there would be no more accidents.

If they reason falsely, they’ll say that guns are intended to kill people and since that’s bad, they shouldn’t be sold at shows. Actually, guns are intended for self-defense, target shooting, hunting, cowboy action shooting, collecting, and overthrowing the government if we need to. Further, regardless of the purpose and potential uses, owning and bearing arms is a right. Yes, it’s a right. And while it can be regulated, it cannot be abrogated.

If they use bad science, they will quote statistics. I know there are many flakey statistics on both sides of every gun issue, but you might check

I believe: 1. Gun shows are well-organized vehicles for selling shooting equipment. 2. They are highly regulated. 3. California requires background checks, so there’s no “gun show loophole” that distresses anti-gun folks. 4. California has a waiting period. 5. California requires you pass a basic firearms safety course (giving you a BFSC certificate) before you buy handguns.

Further, the shows are hardly cesspits filled with criminals, addicts, crazies and terrorists. The buyers and sellers are your friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers and community leaders. Some of them are pretty handy with guns:

— Jerry Eason (reserve police officer). grand aggregate champion, NRA Police Pistol regional competitions (Boise, Idaho, May, 2001).

— Patty Boyte (firearms/gun safety/women’s defense instructor). Second place, Women’s Stock Division, Smith & Wesson 10th International Revolver Championship (Morro Bay, June, 2001).

— Jessica Sears (NU graduate and now a sophomore at Ohio State). Won the 4-H State Championship in competition rifle at 9 years of age; three-time Junior Women Champion of the Sierra Foothill League; California State Junior Champion and California State Junior Women’s Champion; represented California in the Junior Olympics at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Pretty gnarly gang of terrorists and whackos, huh? Even so, I think I’ll keep attending the shows.

Incidentally, I registered my so-called assault rifle (actually a heavy barreled match target rifle), in compliance with California law. I’m a lifelong Democrat, and arguably the best armed liberal in Nevada County.

Barry Schoenborn is a technical writer and a 14-year resident of Nevada County. His column appears the second Saturday of the month.


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