An assortment of firearms, from antiques and collectibles to the controversial AR-15, will be featured at the Holmes Harbor Rod and Gun Club’s annual gun show this weekend.
The Sportsman’s Sale and Gun Show, an event that’s been held for more than 30 years, kicks off with the “Saturday Night Special,” an evening of discount pricing on guns. The arms sales session, which runs from 7-9 p.m., features guns from local dealer stock, consignment firearms and private sellers. A second day more geared towards sportsmen follows on Sunday with an array of sporting, fishing, hunting, target shooting, reloading items and firearms.
“We have a lot of people who bring stuff out of their closets so there will be a lot of collectible firearms,” show manager Michael McInerney said. “You just never know what you’re going to find.”
It’s the first year where the Rod and Gun Club is hosting a two-day show. Organizers expect about 10 sellers to be at the small localized show, the only one in the area according to Freeland resident John Allison. While that might not seem like much, the ratio of sellers to buyers at any given time is typically around 10 to one, he said. Organizers suggest arriving early for the best deals.
McInerney expects all the popular types of guns to be available at the show. A variety of shotguns are expected, as they’re the preferred firearm for bird hunting, which is popular on Whidbey. “Modern sporting rifles,” which McInerney said the media wrongly calls “assault rifles” are likely to be another hot item at the show — they’re the most popular on the market, he said.
And of course, the show will likely see a healthy array of antique and collectible firearms.
“You just never know what you’re going to find since people always have interesting stuff in their garages,” Allison said. “Personally, what I like now are the old side-by-side shotguns. That’s what I collect now and I’ll definitely look out for those.”
In the midst of heated debates on gun violence and proposed arms control, McInerney said gun sales are “at an all time high” in the United States, citing the FBI National Instant Check System, which is used to run background checks on prospective buyers. He links the all-time high sales to the politicization of the issue, and said many gun owners are concerned about the possibility of anti-arms politicians taking office.
“A lot of us are fearful and worried that Hillary will get elected, so a lot of people are thinking they’ll get theirs now before they can’t get them anymore,” McInerney said. “Gun sales always work in congruence with politics when anti-gun politicians come around.”
But, McInerney stressed Rod and Gun Club members don’t push their political agendas, or even have a formulated platform outside of the second amendment discussion. He said club members stand on both sides of the political spectrum, and pointed out the club is meant to be a place for the South Whidbey community to gather and spend time together.
“All in all, it’s always a very friendly experience there,” McInerney said. “There aren’t that many people who come down from off island; most who stop by are locals from the South End.”
McInerney said those considering making a purchase should bring the proper identification to buy a firearm. Guns brought to the show must be unloaded and placed in a box or case, as per the Rod and Gun Club’s rules.
Entry is by donation.