People never really know what they will find at a gun show.
For Andrew Malcolm of the Columbus Rifle Club, this proved true during the club's February show.
“There was a fellow selling an original flintlock,” Malcolm said. “That was really cool to see. I have reproductions, but to see an original flintlock from the late 1700s that still would fire, that was cool.”
There may not be Revolutionary-era muskets available to purchase this time around, but there will be a wide variety of guns and shooting-sport related items available at the club’s Fall Gun Show being held this weekend at the Ag Park, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday and going through 4 p.m. Sunday. Malcolm said that one can find just about anything they desire, from antique weapons to modern-day supplies.
The event is aimed at those who partake in shooting sports, a pastime that Malcolm says has grown in popularity in recent years.
“The shooting sports (have) really exploded,” Malcolm said. “The national media probably won’t tell you that, but it’s unbelievable the different types of sports there are. The number of people that are involved is phenomenal, it really is.”
However, one can find the interesting collectible at the event. Jerome Slusarski, the club’s vice president, has seen a wide variety of different items be sold that have nothing to do with shooting or with guns in any way.
“I’ve seen Indian arrowheads made out of stone that somebody found that Indians made,” Slusarski said. “I’ve seen World War I vintage rifles that are unique. They’re fun to look at, but I don’t think I want to own any (of them).”
Antique guns and vintage collectibles aside, the show is used as a fundraiser for the club to support its initiatives, including its private shooting range outside of Columbus.
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“These are our two fundraisers for the year,” Malcolm said. “This is what we use to help support the club. We have our own private range, which is a rarity these days. Land being the cost that it is, it’s hard to start a range. We have a 200-yard range with five shooting bays for handguns and we hold all kinds of competitions and training for everybody.”
Of course, safety is the No. 1 priority for the club. In a time where mass shootings have become a significant issue, Malcolm and Slusarski are steadfast in their resolve on making sure that people don’t just know how to use a gun, but know how to use it in the safest manner possible.
“Out of all the people that I know, no one has ever shot anybody, no one has even pulled a firearm out,” Malcolm said. “Many of our members are concealed carry permit holders and to go through the concealed carry process is a huge process. At our range, every time there is a match, the very first thing that happens for every match is a safety briefing. The last thing we want is someone to go home with a hole in them. We don’t want that to happen.”
Slusarski agreed, noting that the club is a way for people to learn about some of the positive aspects that come with firearm ownership.
“You worry about who comes in (to the show),” Slusarski said. “Our rifle club promotes the good things you can do with firearms to protect your family (and) to protect the country. We totally disagree with the people who have the psychological problems and do the bad stuff that I don’t, and nobody really likes, going on.”
Still, Malcolm doesn’t have any issues holding the event. Even in this day and age, he has no qualms with holding the shows to raise money for the club and promoting shooting sports in Columbus and beyond.
“I have absolutely no problem with holding a gun show,” Malcolm said. “Absolutely none. No reservations of any kind, whatsoever.”
Zach Roth is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.