It was a bright spring Saturday morning. We fought our way down I-55 through construction zones that only constructed themselves (recursion: see recursion). Multiple jurisdictional layers of eagle-eyed constabulary desperately sought a busted tail light or loose side mirror. Either could be three figures of revenue - doubled in a construction zone! - toward their Officially non-existent expectation of productivity. An abundance of armed Federal agencies were enforcing freedom through compliance (and "dynamic entries") while compassionately not profiling those would be logically suspect (and who justify their abundant continued employment). Why would flensed taxpayers attend a gun show?
The OC Fairgrounds boasts acres of dense parking. We arrived at 0830 hrs for a 0900 hrs opening. Linda and I fought our way into parking then ran down a long venue to join the admissions queue. We were about 1000 people back in our line, plus another like line from parking on the other side. By 0900 hrs both lines extended into both parking lots and well beyond sight. "Join the NRA and get priority admission!" Two generous NRA tables had long lines snaking parallel to folks keeping a lower profile. Credit card swipe channels emitted wisps of smoke from frictional heating as adventitious external videography documented who was conspiring to foment armed insurrection.
As we oozed toward dual $14 admissions (less two downloaded buck-off coupons) hand-stamped early arrivals were already hauling booty back to their pickups and SUVs. Extendible airline luggage totes were piled high with cases of ammo and reloader supplies. One fellow pulled past with at least 5000 primers. It was impolite to stare, especially if he already had brass, powder, and bullets. It was a feeding frenzy.
Official statistics say Los Angeles is about 75% privileged minorities. More than 20% of the total population, every one of them victims!, receives direct public aid. It looked like everybody in Orange County descended from patriarchal White Protestant European oppressors of Peoples of Colour had their wallets at the ready lest Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane. A not insignificant distaff presence was noted. There were more folded luggage totes than at a TSA airport checkpoint strip-searching pale-skinned elderly and infirm.
A Mossberg or Remington 12 ga. tactical shotgun with extended magazine, California-mandated giant impenetrable trigger lock including a big black warning that it will probably fail in use (guess which way), and a fat fee for Federal rubber stamping of your purchase will set you back $400 on a Big 5 sale day, plus sales tax. A gun show J&J Armory Model 2 built around a Remington 870 receiver listed at $1288, the cost of three entirely adequate Mossys or Remis. There was not enough surface area for all the $1300-$1500 shotgun purchase requests to be inked. We stopped by a couple of hours later; ink still gushed.
Ammo vendors did not split cases. Buy a full case, buy a shrink-wrapped stack of four cases, or get the Hell out of the way. A case of 12 ga. shotshells is 250 rounds. Shuck-shuck sounds were everywhere as luggage totes extended then groaned under leaden burden. Rifle and pistol ammo flew off shelves. Nobody made noises about steel, bismuth, tungsten bronze, or frangible "Green" projectiles. Tattoos or ties, everyone dealt in lead.
There was an air gun table. So sad. Knives were featured but enjoyed little commerce. Pattern-welded blades, despite their price, were not well fabricated if you knew how the pattern should be oriented at the cutting edge. Ka-Bars were not offered at discount. They looked sad - and hungry.
Folks living in the wilds of San Berdoo or Redlands have wide open spaces decorated with unfortunate places. Carbines (AK-47M) and rifles are their best friends. As with cars, do not buy what your government tells you is good. Glock semi-auto pistols need Accurizing and loading ramp dry lube. They are MTBF intolerant of hollow point and soft nose bullets. Shells stovepipe at the receiver. "Reduced recoil" rounds may not cycle the action. Loading a long clip to get four shots is stupid.
It is poor etiquette for a suburban resident to fire a 700 yard lethal projectile toward his neighbor's home 15 yards across the street either as a miss or as target over-penetration. A crowd with Molotov cocktails is not an opportunity for languid ratiocination about tight groupings. Mobs are shotgun buckshot work to 50 yards. You only truly own what you can hold in your arms at a dead run. Our Second Amendment offers you long arms in trade for track shoes. The OC Gun Show was a polling booth where everybody was voting for the same candidate. We departed at 1300 hrs, walking past a long incoming line and shepherded by enough rolling lead to defend a democracy.