Gun buyers, sellers connect, get checked at JT Reid’s first Bangor gun show

Gabor Degre/Bangor Daily News

Guns on display at JT Reid's Bangor Gun Show at the Elks Lodge in Bangor on Sunday.

BANGOR, Maine — Otis resident Edwin “Sonny” Colburn brought a “suicide special” with the name Tramp’s Terror to the JT Reid’s Bangor Gun Show on Sunday in hopes of selling it.

“They made four different models. I still have a three and a four,” said Colburn, who just turned 81 and who is known locally as a co-founder of the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race. “I want 300 bucks for it.”

Colburn said his father got the antique gun back in the 1940s when a wealthy neighbor up the street died and he was able to purchase a box lot for $50.

“There were more than 500 guns,” he said, adding he later inherited a majority of them from his father.

If Colburn is able to find a buyer, the organizer of the gun show is requiring that person to get a background check through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, even though private sales are exempt.

“There is not a firearm that goes out of here without a background check,” John Reid, show sponsor and owner of JT Reid’s Gun Shop in Auburn, said Sunday as people shopped around him. “It’s not a requirement, but it’s safety. Safety and knowing where your firearm is going is very big.”

Background checks.are not required at gun shows, but all gun dealers are required to run them. Reid’s shop is providing the background checks for private sales at no cost to the seller or buyer, said Reid, who has been a gun dealer and collector for 28 years.

A table was set up in the corner of one of the two rooms for people to fill out the NICS paperwork, which provides an almost instant response to sellers about whether a prospective firearm purchaser is disqualified from receiving or possessing firearms.

Show assistant Charlie Rumsey, an organizer of the larger Bangor Gun Show — held the weekend after Labor Day and sponsored by the Penobscot County Conservation Association — said the plan is to also require all guns sales at the fall show to have background checks.

“That way we can bring in some collectors,” Rumsey said, adding many collectors who once displayed items over the years have stopped doing so because of regulations.

The Bangor Gun Show, which is a fundraiser for scholarships for University of Maine and Unity College students studying wildlife conservation and wildlife law enforcement, is hosting its 36th annual show in the fall, Rumsey said.

The JT Reid’s Bangor Gun Show opened its doors for the two-day event Saturday at the Elks Club and about 700 people walked through the doors, club manager Danny Hughes said.

“They have everything — semi-automatics, weapons, pistols of all kinds and hunting equipment,” Hughes said. “They have ammo. It’s mostly weapons and ammo.”

There are 33 vendors, some with just one table and others with up to six, Reid said.

While he has seen antique weapons and modern AK-47 assault-style rifles go out the door during the two-day gun show, most shoppers are looking for weapons to protect themselves or their homes, he said.

“Most are personal-protection use type firearms,” Reid said.

“The Damsel in Defense lady has been as busy as anyone,” the organizer said, pointing to Sue King’s table. “She sells stun guns and other non-lethal type weapons.”

King, who had stun guns, pepper sprays, personal alarms and emergency tools, demonstrated the power of the hand-held zappers to anyone who walked by. Said she sold a dozen stun guns on Saturday and by noon Sunday had sold a half dozen more.

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Thank you

On behalf of the people who feel threatened by the proliferation of gun violence in this country, I want to thank Mr. Reid for his concern for his fellow citizens. I find it admirable that he is able to put the welfare of his community ahead of profits. If more gun owners followed his example and cared more about their community than about NRA talking points we wouldn't see so much gun trafficking, straw purchases, guns stored in unsafe places where children and thieves have handy access, suicides, domestic violence and demand for secrecy which only empowers lawbreakers. If responsible gun owners were more responsible there would be much less call for regulation.

Noel Foss's picture

Not to mention...

the fact that if more people who felt threatened by the proliferation of gun violence in this country bothered to educate themselves as to who increased regulation empowers (quick hint, it's not the people following the laws!), then there'd also be less call for regulation.
Claire; maybe you need to redirect some of this fear of guns towards the people who're breaking the laws and committing most of the violence rather than the rest of us, and stop empowering the criminals by pushing for more shackles on the law-abiding. Why don't you do some research, and find out who's responsible for most of the murders in this country, and support legislation that targets them.
Maybe even consider the fact that Mr Reid fits in with the majority of gun owners, rather than the minority.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I'll try and squeeze a guestion in here.....

At first, from looking at the picture, I was going to ask, why would anyone want, or need a camouflage assault rifle? Then I quickly changed my thoughts to, why on earth would someone need a pink camouflage assault rifle. Now the question that I'm almost afraid to hear the answer to. Just where would you need a "pink camouflage" assault rifle, and in what background would it blend in with? I'm guessing a full armed assault in the junior miss department at the local department store. Then again I have been kind of avoiding the "Military" channel lately. Maybe I just missed something............



Now - what is the point? Not all gun shows do background checks. You know that, I know that. Because one show does are we supposed to call it good and go back to business as usual?

I don't think so.

But I'm not in Congress and have to genuflect each time Wayne LaPierre walks into the room.

Noel Foss's picture

Shrug. Maybe the point was to provide a counterpoint.

The media and Gun Control advocates constantly bring up the "Gun Show Loophole" to try and generate fear among the general public. This article provides a counterpoint to that.
It's certainly true that not all gun shows do background checks. But a lot of them do. Additionally, licensed gun dealers are required to perform background checks for every sale, whether they're at a gun show or not. It's not like they can take the day off from from it just because they're not at their own shop.
This article simply provides something to keep in mind the next time somebody who's never been to a gun show tries to pass them off as all being swap-meets for criminals.


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