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Old April 17, 2019, 18:25   #1
Surly
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Any of you fawkers ever promote or put on a gun show?

I'm researching what requirements there are from the federal level on down and can't come up with jack shit.

I'm tired of the flea markets and I would actually like to put on a gun and gun related only show to compete. I want to keep it cheap and let the thing pay for itself. I'm not looking to profit.

Do I need to carry insurance? I can't find anything from the ATF regarding their regulations. Once I get that figured out, I deal with the county and city juris-my-dick-tion BS.

I need actual information and not best-guesses or speculative horse shit. Thanks!

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Old April 17, 2019, 18:35   #2
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My wife promotes Gun Shows of the exact kind you describe.

http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=439634

PM your email, and I will assist in your quest.



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Old April 17, 2019, 19:55   #3
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PM inbound. Thanks!
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Old April 18, 2019, 08:41   #4
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Your biggest expenses will be:

Venue rental
Insurance
Table rental - setup/takedown
24 hour security

Add to that advertising, staff to check guns at door, tags, rubber hand stamp, etc.
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Old April 18, 2019, 21:46   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackmore View Post
Your biggest expenses will be:

Venue rental
Insurance
Table rental - setup/takedown
24 hour security

Add to that advertising, staff to check guns at door, tags, rubber hand stamp, etc.
Well it can work like this:

Venue: Township Hall, school gymnasium, even curling/skating rink
Insurance: Just depends
Tables: Some venues have them onsite, set up/take down think local Boy scout troops
Security ? That's what a promoter should be doing himself. Some shows up here encourage folks to just camp out on a cot rather than get a motel. Worst case you give a free couple tables away to your night help
Same hold true for ticket sellers & gun checkers

Very few shows here require vendors to disable guns, some don't even have the public's guns tied up.
Half the smaller shows just use a magic marker rather than hand stamps
Advertising is pretty basic. One can print up hand bills on your computer

Once you have the hand bills start posting them up at Off Sales, Hardware joints, Grocery Stores. Leave out stacks at other gun shows,
Make sure you get listed on a few of the National gunshow forums
those can be free

You want to go on the real cheap run it on a profit model but for the High School sports program. That gets you in the door on a free venue, likely the local team helping with set up & tear down not just of tables but helping old farts get things in the gym.
Get some local ladies church group to put on the food at their cost and profit for that org
Give free tables to the guys running the local shooting club to sell memberships

I can name a number of shows ran this way in MN
Wells Minnesota is a wild one, they have tables set up and down the halls and in two gyms. Kids handle 80% of it, it's where the team gets much of the cash for uniforms and new equipment. Ladies group put out the grub

Newfolden MN does a similar deal. That's promoted by the local shooting club

Park River ND did a similar deal, maybe still does.

The downside is you will get plenty of fleamarket goods, mostly antiques but it's the nature of these things
Newfolden runs ten dollar table rent !
Think Wells is like twenty

The trick is to make it a community event and FOR the community

Something else is you really need to research when other shows are going down in say a 200 mile minimum radius and avoid scheduling conflicts with other shows

I know you hate the beanie baby crappola, you can eliminate much of that by screening your vendors. Still that said don't try to make it all purely arms related. You need lady things as well.

Also acceptable to allow Silver & Gold guys to set up Surly. Plenty of Gun guys are buying Silver rounds or will be back sunday to sell some

Part of the problem is Gun shows became promoted by profiteers
under that model you need to sell as much tablespace as possible hence the introduction of table polluted with Chinese shit.
I understand where you are hoping to go with this but just saying you can either run it like a business or a Community service.

We set up for one day at the Newfolden school show this year. I would say maybe 70% of product was gun related. Three coin guys, just a gaggle of gals selling crafts. Buddy was there, never even seen him at a show before. Him and his new GF had 3 tables. He had one covered with old junker rifles & pistols, hers were covered with Bird Houses. He sold out, she moved maybe 50% of product brought mostly to wimmins. One old local broad was selling her canned goods...Pickles, preserves, homemade pies. Bought a mess of Beet Pickles Surly, some Banana Nut Bread too. Another lady was selling homemade Salt Water Taffy.
You will half you embrace all that if you go Community service and folks will love you for it.

You are in South Dakota right ?
Another hang up is it's all seasonal buddy
Once the fields open up it's about hopeless to run shows in Farm Country friend. Historically Gun Show Season in farm country is frost to thaw. In SD the vast majority of shows used to be up and down I29. Most were Weapons Collectors shows but the guys who used to promote for that society have plain done died out. Back in the 90s we still had HUGE events in both Fargo and Grand Forks, those just vanished and not all that long ago. North Dakota is getting damn close to Gun Showless these days
Heard SD was getting nearly as bad. Sad truth is many oldsters have just died off. I lost three old gun show buddies just over two months this winter Surly.

It's not a real case of if we build it they will come

Another tip ?
A few actually...don't be a dick
for example if someone wants a one day slot or needs to pull out early on Sunday don't get in their face. Had promoters get juicy with me over packing out when a blizzard was rolling in. Well Fook You.

Trick there is positioning, let me explain.
We rent five to eight tables at a time usually. I can easily cover TWELVE. As such we often get positioned where we can absorb adjoining neighboring tables. Free for us and maintains the continuity of the show...nothing worse than abandoned tables after the public shelled out a fiver to get in.

At least in MN the weekend rate on Armories has gone up a great deal recently, be aware of that and under Obama they started demanding higher classifications of insurance, even demanding you pay their staff as overnight security
That has also resulted in outright theft by assigned weekend warriors.
Just saying

As far as regs ?
Federally there are none for you as the promoter
I'd advise signage stating [B]ALL FEDERAL & STATE REGULATIONS WILL BE FOLLOWED[/B as a disclaimer though. Truth is legally you have no responsibility over what Joe does with Sam the Vendor renting tables from you.

Sooner rather than later you WILL have ATFE contact. Generally they are just interested in if so & so has tables. This happens all the time buddy. I hear this regularly from promoters warning us vendors to make sure we don't have problematic items for sale.
Shit some shows they announce before it opens to public that the bureau will be passing through.

You get big enough ?
Hell offer ATFE a free table
Wannemaker has done this in Tulsa for decades.


I do wish you luck but this is a real bit of steady work if you elect to take it all on. I know you want to do it break even but remember that's going to include gas, meals, maybe motel for two to three days piled atop everything else brought up

Always remember what the model is elsewhere isn't going to work one bit in the Upper Plains but it will give you a loose framework at the very least.
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Old April 19, 2019, 03:18   #6
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" I want to keep it cheap and let the thing pay for itself. I'm not looking to profit."

It's o.k. to make a few bucks. No one will think less of you. Well, no 'normal' person anyway.
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Old April 19, 2019, 05:54   #7
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A few local gun clubs put on their own gun "shows" that are open to the public that last about 8 hours. Tables are super cheap, prices are generally reasonable because you get the feel guys are just cleaning out their closets, usually a member that is has ties with local PD set up a detail, and you get to know other members pretty well.
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Old April 19, 2019, 22:47   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Illurian00 View Post
" I want to keep it cheap and let the thing pay for itself. I'm not looking to profit."

It's o.k. to make a few bucks. No one will think less of you. Well, no 'normal' person anyway.
I'll preface this with a special thanks to tdb59 for the valuable information he relayed to me. I couldn't ask for anything more. Thanks again!!

I'm not in it for the money. I'm willing to kick start it out of pocket and let it perpetuate itself. I just want what all gun show attendees want...a gun show that's not a flea market with a few guns.

I love making money. This will be my way of giving back.
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Old April 19, 2019, 23:11   #9
Will C
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubacus View Post
A few local gun clubs put on their own gun "shows" that are open to the public that last about 8 hours. Tables are super cheap, prices are generally reasonable because you get the feel guys are just cleaning out their closets, usually a member that is has ties with local PD set up a detail, and you get to know other members pretty well.
That’s pretty much how we do it here. Local Rod & Gun Club organizes and promotes the show. The Moose Club provides the venue free of charge. The Rod & Gun Club runs the event and charges a small fee for tables ($20-25) that is basically a donation to the Club, which uses the money to help maintain our local shooting range. Once in a while an FFL will participate but it is mostly just local fudds and gun cranks buying and trading guns and outdoor gear. Most of the time one or more local off duty cops who are Club members will help provide security, which is not needed much in this locale anyway.
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Old April 21, 2019, 11:37   #10
Surly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubacus View Post
A few local gun clubs put on their own gun "shows" that are open to the public that last about 8 hours. Tables are super cheap, prices are generally reasonable because you get the feel guys are just cleaning out their closets, usually a member that is has ties with local PD set up a detail, and you get to know other members pretty well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Will C View Post
Thatís pretty much how we do it here. Local Rod & Gun Club organizes and promotes the show. The Moose Club provides the venue free of charge. The Rod & Gun Club runs the event and charges a small fee for tables ($20-25) that is basically a donation to the Club, which uses the money to help maintain our local shooting range. Once in a while an FFL will participate but it is mostly just local fudds and gun cranks buying and trading guns and outdoor gear. Most of the time one or more local off duty cops who are Club members will help provide security, which is not needed much in this locale anyway.
The problem here is that the "clubs" promoting the local shows have no rules regarding content. If there were, I doubt there would be any enforcement of the rules. We have flea markets with some guns and gun related shit as a result. I stopped selling and attending them after a good friend passed away that used to sell there with me.

The funny thing about being there with him was listening to all of the flea market sellers bitching about how they didn't sell shit all weekend. I'm talking about the guys that have been doing these for two decades carting around the same shit and increasing the prices for every event. I would still see 10/22 mags marked as "pre-ban". When you would suggest that they maybe consider pricing their shit competitively, there hasn't been a "ban" since '04 and leaving the flea market shit at home for a garage sale, they start chirping about how the attendance wasn't good, everyone's broke, or the weather...

Whatever. I can't fix retarded. I always did well at the shows, but I do better on Armslist and Gunbroker. I ask around locally after the shows and the biggest complaints are the costs and the content. I can fix those.

I want to change it and at least have one show in the area that everyone actually looks forward to attending. That means there have to be rules that are enforced regardless of the delicate sensitivities. I am willing to be the asshole that says NO!

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