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Gun enthusiasts set sights on Sierra Vista (AZ)
Sierra Vista Herald ^ | Jacob Petersen

Posted on 03/12/2012 11:25:45 AM PDT by SandRat

Cocked, locked, and ready to rock, the Sierra Vista Gun Show kicked off with a bang-bang this weekend for the first time in more than a decade.

And with upward of 42 vendors selling everything from elite precision rifles and cowboy six-shooters to tactical gear, coins, and jewelry, The Knights of Columbus Hall was packed on Saturday and Sunday for the first in a series of three shows planned at the venue in a span of only six months.

“We are here because your community demanded it,” said Dennis Champagne, owner of Arizona Collectibles and Firearms, which sponsored the show.

“We are here to provide an opportunity for gun collectors and gun enthusiasts to come out and enjoy their sport,” he said, adding that prior to the re-establishment of the Sierra Vista show, interested patrons were forced to travel out of town to attend shows.

But despite the number of veterans and active military in the area, and relaxed gun laws in the state of Arizona, negative media reports and misguided criminals have created a sense of fear of guns among many in the community, something Champagne said he feels is inappropriate and usually based on a lack of firearms knowledge.

“I want to take the negative persona out of gun shows by welcoming everybody to come down and see what we actually do,” he said.

Taking the reins from Champagne, vendor Mike McGuire said that “if people were more familiar with guns, they wouldn’t be afraid of them. It’s a tool. Guns don’t produce criminals, criminals acquire guns through illegal means. Responsible gun owners are law abiding citizens.”

A licensed firearms dealer based in Vail, McGuire said that a lack of gun knowledge is often what leads to accidents, and knowledge in any sense is vital to growth and understanding.

“If your children have the desire (to learn about guns), don’t let them explore it on their own. You have to teach them,” he said.

“(The parent) can try to keep his (child) away from guns and the kid will chew his peanut butter and jelly sandwich into the shape of a gun and go bang, bang. It’s better that parents be the one to teach them,” he said.

“And we shouldn’t be the only ones to teach our children about guns. There should be education for everything,” Champagne said, adding that, because of the fact “there are more guns in the world than there are people,” children should be taught to understand and operate them safely.

“Education is important,” he said.

But even in the face of increasing knowledge, safety remains the top priority when it comes to guns, which is why all of the weapons displayed at the show were carefully checked and the chambers zip tied prior to them being admitted into the Knights Hall.

“And there is a law that every handgun sold must come with a child safety lock,” Champagne said.

Politics aside, the show featured many unique weapons, including some with a price tag above that of a decent used vehicle.

“This is a 2nd Dragoon made in 1848,” Champagne said as he picked up a revolver from a nearby display table.

“It was more than likely issued to the New Hampshire Cavalry,” he said, adding that the weapon has been around since prior to the Civil War.

“If I told you how much it costs, you’d call me crazy for even putting it out on the table,” Champagne said with a grin.

Turning toward another weapon, Champagne gleamed as he mentioned the weapon’s serial number; 13. “That’s the cat’s meow,” he said of the $10,000 Barrett .50 caliber rifle laying before him.

With an effective range of more than 1.1 miles, the rifle is primarily used by the military on material targets and as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal tool.

But in the end, the gun show was about offering a local opportunity to learn about, evaluate, and view the various weapons being produced for civilian use.

“We are a free society, and if people want nothing to do with guns that is their decision and I fully respect that. But it goes both ways. … I like guns,” McGuire said, turning to answer questions for a customer.


Two more Sierra Vista Gun Shows are planned to take place June 16 to 17 and Sept. 1 to 2 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, located at 156 W. Kayetan Drive. For details about the upcoming shows or to get directions on classes related to gun safety for first timers, kids, or women, or for information regarding how to obtain a concealed carry permit, contact Dennis Champagne at

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: banglist; guns; gunshow

1 posted on 03/12/2012 11:25:54 AM PDT by SandRat
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To: SandRat
You gotta just shake yer head at the caption writer, y'know what I mean, Vern?

Cody Merrick, right, and Grant McCune talk about a newly purchased Ruger No. .308 rifle during the Sierra Vista Gun Show, sponsored by Arizona Collectibles and Firearms at the Knights of Columbus on Sunday. Photo by Beatrice Richardson

I din't know that Ruger made a Model .308, did you?

2 posted on 03/12/2012 12:57:49 PM PDT by HiJinx (I can (still) see Mexico from my back porch. You will, too, soon.)
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To: HiJinx
Maybe a Ruger Number .308..?

Always wanted one....but don't the like the single shot aspect.

Bot a Win Model .308 a few months ago...and love it!

3 posted on 03/12/2012 1:07:39 PM PDT by Osage Orange (Why do we eat Soylindra Green?)
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To: HiJinx

Must be auditioning for a job with the ADS, eh... lol.

4 posted on 03/12/2012 1:20:16 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
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