If Bruce Nadeau has learned anything from years of selling guns, it’s to not judge a book by its cover.

“You can never judge a person by their appearance,” said Nadeau of Turner-based G3 Firearms. Especially in today’s firearm’s market, he said.

What may appear to look like your typical gun owner will come up and take a look at the handguns and rifles on the table. Then a woman will walk up behind him and say, “I wan’t to buy a gun,” Nadeau said. 

“A lot of girls are buying guns,” he said. “And a lot of older folks, too.” 

The second day of the  Auburn Exchange Club’s 40th annual Twin City Gun Show at the Lewiston Armory was a bit slower than the first day — but overall, gun sales were up.

“It’s been very good,” said show organizer John Reid of J.T. Reid’s Gun Shop. “We are on par to do better than last year, even with two competing events being held on the same weekend.”

The State of Maine Sportsman’s Show in Augusta and a small gun show in Newport were also held this past weekend.

“Saturday was booming — we had a good day,” said Pete Ceprano of Road’s End Outfitters about firearms sales. 

Nadeau said G3 sold 26 handguns and six rifles on Saturday. 

“That’s not bad,” Nadeau said.

Nadeau said he was holding down the fort while shop owner Chris Jordan was at his daughter’s cheerleading competition in Las Vegas. 

Both Nadeau and Reid said the ballot referendum to require expanded background checks on most gun transfers that will go to before voters this coming November has had no effect on current sales. 

“Every gun sold here requires a background check,” Nadeau said. “You have to fill out a form for anything that shoots a bullet.” 

“There is a background check for any sale during this show,” Reid said. “Some people have a problem with it. I don’t.”

Nathan Peterson of Auburn waited four minutes for Nick Abel of G3 to run his background check through the FBI.

“I have nothing to hide,” Peterson said. “I just bought a pistol a couple of weeks ago, so it should go right through.”

Peterson purchased a Molot Vepr, a Russian-made semi-automatic shotgun, during the show. His plan is to sport shoot with it, possibly some skeet.

“I grew up in Montana and hunted a lot,” Peterson said. “I am pretty much out of the hunting scene now, but I still love to shoot.” 

Abel said he was very pleased that Peterson’s background check only took four minutes. A typical check lasts about 10 minutes. But if the FBI says the words “further review,” you will wan’t to have a seat. 

“If you have the same name as a bad guy,” for example, that’s when ‘further review’ comes into play, Abel said. Those more-involved background checks take 30 to 45 minutes, he said.

The recent change in Maine law that allows someone to carry a concealed handgun without a permit has made a big difference, Reid said. 

Reid has been involved in the Twin City Gun Show for 30 years and over that time, it has been about a 50/50 split between handgun and long-gun sales. But this year, it has been about 80 percent handguns, according to Reid.

“We are selling a lot more handguns this year,” he said. “It runs the gamut, from .22 on up,” he said when asked if any particular caliber of weapon is more popular with concealed-weapon holders than others.

Reid said that he agreed with Nadeau: More women are buying guns. 

Reid also teaches a gun safety course once a month.

“It used to be six or seven guys sitting around, drinking coffee, taking the course,” Reid said. “Now I will have 20 people in the class, and half of them are women.” 

More people carrying concealed weapons has led to more people taking Reid’s safety course. Reid said that enough parishioners at one local church expressed interest in carrying a concealed weapon that Reid held his gun safety course right at the church.

Reid explained many gun owners’ thoughts on c: “If I am going to carry, I want to carry safely.” 

Proceeds from the event benefit the Auburn Exchange Club’s Youth Fund.

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