Gun Show Trader boasts the "largest gun show list" in the US. According to this website, there are 1137 gun shows currently scheduled.
Given the recent Tucson City Council decision to require background checks of any gun show conducted on city property, I looked up the number of gun shows coming up in Arizona. As of today, February 6, 2013, Gun Show Trader shows 30 gun shows scheduled for Arizona in 2013 and 2 so far for 2014.
For 2013, there are 7 gun shows scheduled for Tucson, 6 for Mesa, 5 for Phoenix, 3 for Glendale, and the other 9 are everywhere else in Arizona. To put this into perspective, one must compare the number of gun shows scheduled for Arizona with other states. Which state has the most upcoming gun shows? Texas, of course, with 103. (That was too easy.) The spread of scheduled gun shows nationwide is 0 to 103. Check out the data by state after the jump.
The data (below) are quite surprising. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to the number of shows scheduled. Five states have no gun shows scheduled at all. You'd expect pantywaist East Coast states like Connecticut and Delaware not to have any gun shows, but no gun shows in New Jersey, South Dakota, and North Dakota? On the other end of the spectrum, 6 states have 60 or more gun shows scheduled– more than one per week. Of course, Texas would have the most at 103, but #2 is Florida with 86, followed by Indiana (71), Pennsylvania (70), Washington (65), and California (60).
Common sense would tell you that that population, politics, and/or existing regulations could be factors in the number of gun shows per state. In order, California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois are the 5 most populace states in the US; respectively they have 60, 103, 18, 86, and 29 scheduled gun shows. Indiana has less than 100,000 fewer citizens than Arizona and has more than twice as many gun shows that Arizona (71 vs 32).
Thinking stereotypically, red neck states in the South and the Plains should have more gun shows than other states, but Alaska (think: Sarah Palin), Hawaii (think: public pot smoking), Idaho, Maine, Minnisota, Nebraska, and New Hampshire (think: "live free or die") all have 2-4 shows. Except for Florida, Southern states have a modest number of gun shows– fewer shows over all than hippie dippy states like California (60), Oregon (40) or Washington (65). States like Mississippi, Kentucky, and West Virginia, which are often the brunt of red neck jokes, have 6, 18, and 17 shows scheduled respectively. (Mississippi has fewer scheduled shows than Massachusetts– or Tucson!)
So, if population and red/blue mix don't help predict the number of gun shows, existing regulations are a likely reason for the differences. At the Tucson City Council meeting regarding background checks at gun shows, a gun show promoter said she conducts shows in California and that state requires background checks on all show sales. With 60 shows scheduled for that state in 2013 alone, the background checks don't seem to be much of a deterrent to gun commerce. The National Rifle Association tracks gun laws at the state and federal level, but the patchwork of current and proposed legislation is a quagmire.
With 1122 gun shows scheduled (to date) for 2013 and 15 already scheduled for 2014, I wonder how many guns will be sold at shows this year, what percentage will be sold without background checks, and how much money will be exchanged at gun shows. Don't kid yourself. This issue isn't about the second amendment; it's about unfettered arms and ammunition commerce.
I also wonder how many more people will die from gun shots in the coming year. In the month and a half since the Sandy Hook school massacre, 1280 Americans have been killed by guns— a little more than 26 mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters per day. You can read some of their stories here. When will Americans stop this senseless violence?
Image credit: Pamela Powers Hannley. Gun show data compiled from Gun Show Trader nationwide show list on Feb. 6, 2013. This is descriptive data and most likely not all inclusive.