LEWISTON — The 41st annual Twin Cities Gun Show kicked off Saturday at the Lewiston Armory and drew a large and steady crowd.

Exhibitors offered a wide array of options, including everything from rifles, semi-automatics and pistols to knives, stun guns and ammo.  

Chris Mooney of Iron Clad Arms said it has been a good show. 

“It’s tax season, which helps,” he said. “The market is down a little because no one is panic buying, but it’s steady.” 

He said the show had a big mix of people.

“There are more women here to to buy guns and more first-time gun buyers,” he said.

In order to buy a gun at a show, purchasers have to fill out a background check form from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — Form 4473. 

If anything comes up in the background check, the purchaser will be delayed and the gun sale won’t be permitted at that time. Once the background check is completed, the buyer is either denied, delayed or approved.

“I know there’s a whole population that hates guns, but it’s an inanimate object,” Mooney said. “It’s all about responsibility and how you use it.” 

He said that a lot more women were at this show, mostly looking for guns for self-defense.

“You hope you never have to use it,” Mooney said. But if you do, you’re prepared, he said. 

Gun Owners of Maine President Todd Tolhurst said, “There’s a surprising number of women; it’s the largest-growing category of new shooters.”

The organization has a wide demographic of members, Tolhurst said. 

“It really is just about everyone being tied together by one common thread: gun rights,” he said.

Tolhurst said gun shows are family-friendly.

“Guns are a tradition,” he said, “maybe more in Maine than some other places.”

Article 1, Section 16 of Maine’s Constitution reads: “Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms; and this right shall never be questioned.”

“It’s stronger and less ambiguous than the federal one,” Tolhurst said of the article. “Gun rights are important to Mainers.”

The Gun Owners of Maine has almost 27,000 followers on social media, as well as thousands of active and supporting members.

This is its fourth year as a formal, nonprofit organization, but it’s been around for almost eight years.

Damsel in Defense representative Colleen Fahy was at the event Saturday to show off products geared toward self-defense. 

“We want to equip, empower and educate women,” she said.  “You’re not in for the fight; you want to stun and run.”

Their big seller is a Taser that looks like a small digital camera. It has several safety barriers, including a wrist strap that must be pinned in and an on switch. They both have to be on for the Taser to be active.

“All of the products are completely non-lethal,” Fahy said.

They also offer personal alarms, striking tools, pepper spray and a multiuse emergency auto tool. 

The show continues Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lewiston Armory. 

Kris Winner of Auburn looks at firearm optics while holding his Seekins Precision AR-15 competition rifle at the RSX Products table during the Twin Cities Gun Show at the Lewiston Armory on Saturday. Winner said he uses the gun during three-gun competitions and brought it to the show to see if anyone might be interested in buying the weapon, as he is transitioning into a different style of competition. Three-gun competitions are when the competitor uses an AR-15, a shotgun and a pistol. The gun show continues on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Ahblahnah Twohearts helps run the Beaver Creek Desperados booth during the Twin Cities Gun Show at the Lewiston Armory on Saturday. Twohearts competes in single-action shooting competitions with the two custom rifles above. Her cowboy shooting alias is “Morgan Wind-Dancer.” The gun show continues Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

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