Orgy of Cheap Guns for Sale at Pima Fairgrounds

AR-15s are cheap guns. "AR" stands for "ArmaLite rifle," after the company that developed it in the 1950s. “AR” does NOT stand for “assault rifle.”

AR-15 rifles were “selling like hotcakes” at the gun show.

AR-15 rifles — the weapon of choice of mass murderers — are selling briskly at the gun show at the Pima County Fair Grounds. Anybody over 18 with a driver’s license can walk out with an AR-15 for $450. No background checks, either.

It was an orgy of handguns, gas masks, bulletproof vests, pistols, rifles, ammunition, knives, old-time six-shooters, shotguns, holsters, and targets. AR-15s are “selling like hotcakes,” said Aaron Herman of Elite Guns & Ammo.

“You could have bought this gun for $399 last summer. I just raised my price three times today. There’s none to be bought,” he says, talking about an American Tactical AR-15. “I have three left. I’ve sold 17 today. People ask, ‘can you give me a deal?’ and I say no.”

Since 2007, at least 173 people have been killed in mass shootings in the US involving AR-15s in Newtown, CT, Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Sutherland Springs, TX, Aurora, CO, and Parkland, FL.

AR-15s are cheap guns. "AR" stands for "ArmaLite rifle," after the company that developed it in the 1950s. “AR” does NOT stand for “assault rifle.”

AR-15s are cheap guns. “AR” stands for “ArmaLite rifle,” after the company that developed it in the 1950s. “AR” does NOT stand for “assault rifle.”

The gun show had a squalid air, with vendors also selling pots and pans, scissors, posters, shop hardware, cheap gemstones, binoculars, maps, and swords. A guy was walking around with a rifle that has a “private sale” sign stuck in the barrel. He wanted $750 for a gun made from parts.


Read: Why Do We Tolerate a Gun Expo on Public Property?


Collateral damage

Every gun manufacturer makes a variety of AR-15s. It has the same firepower as a standard infantry rifle like military M16 and M4 rifles. Ammo is only $6.50 for a box of 20 rounds, up to $27 a box for bullets “that cause more collateral damage on the animal…or the target. Some of them are pretty devastating rounds,” says General Manager Michael L. Thompson of Triton Arms of Yuma, AZ.

He was selling fancier AR-15s and recommended the company’s Patrol AR-15 for $1,080 as a starter gun. Their competition model goes for $2,295. He described how I could apply to get a silencer for it.

Like an arms bazaar in Syria, there’s no tax and no background check for guns bought at the gun show.

Like an arms bazaar in Syria, there’s no tax and no background check for guns bought at the gun show.

There was a booth for Kelli Ward, the right-wing nut job running for the US Senate. A campaign worker told me how she was in favor of a border wall, eliminating Obamacare and stopping gun safety laws. I asked him what he thought about the mass murders in Parkland, FL. He had to think for a minute, and blamed it all on the FBI.

At gun shows in states with less regulation, like Arizona, straw purchases are more common, armed attendees selling guns were more common, and vendors were more likely to sell assault weapons and 50 caliber rifles, according to the Giffords Law Center Prevent Gun Violence.

Scurrilous vendors like the NRA and Kelly Ward had booths.

Scurrilous vendors like the NRA and Kelly Ward had booths.

A study by ATF found that 25% to 50% of gun show vendors are unlicensed. ATF reviewed over 1,500 of its investigations and concluded that gun shows are a “major trafficking channel,” associated with approximately 26,000 firearms diverted from legal to illegal commerce. Gun shows rank second to corrupt dealers as a source for illegally trafficked firearms.

From 2004 – 2006, ATF conducted 202 investigative operations at 195 guns shows, or roughly 3% of the gun shows held nationwide during this period. These operations resulted in 121 arrests and the seizure of 5,345 firearms.

The Giffords Center gives Arizona an “F” rating for gun safety, because it has the weakest laws in the country. Arizona enacted no notable gun safety laws in 2017, and in 2016 the state exported crime guns at a rate higher than 44 other states.

It will remain that way so long as the sick gun culture prevails at gun shows nationwide.

4 responses to “Orgy of Cheap Guns for Sale at Pima Fairgrounds

  1. Tonight’s song…

    “…My very first pistol was a cap and ball Colt
    Shoots as fast as lightnin’ but it loads a might slow
    It loads a might slow, and soon I found out
    It’ll get you into trouble but it can’t get you out…”

  2. Interestingly enough A New England Journal of Medicine study shows a large decrease in firearm deaths & injuries during NRA conventions.

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1712773?query=featured_secondary&

    Guess if the NRA was really concerned with firearm safety they should hold conventions 24/7/365?

  3. I second Pam. Terrific reporting.