Why I avoid Maryland gun shows


by Mack Mullinix, Reporter

One of the buildings at the Frederick Fair Grounds.

On April 4,the Frederick County gun show was held at The Frederick Fairgrounds. Gun shows have always been an event I’ve enjoyed attending.

Even though I can’t legally purchase many of the items at these events, I can still browse and purchase guns, including knives, tactical products, and books about weapons.  There is also war memorabilia, representation from local gun organizations and services. Believe it or not, there are a lot of families that attend.

However if you’re me, this Frederick show is not as appealing as other shows.

Compared to spectacles of the gun shows found in nearby states, here is why Maryland’s gun shows are not worth the entrance fee.

Gun laws

Maryland is one of the many liberal states known for its strict gun laws, similar to that of states like New York and California. Most staunch and annoying of these laws, is found in Criminal Law Article 4-305. The law makes it illegal to purchase, manufacture, or sell magazines over 10 rounds in the state. This requires  many gun companies to have to make a whole new line of production to make magazines under the requirements. This not only keeps Marylanders from buying a wide range of guns in state, but also a majority of magazines. These types of decisions lead to many gun companies to flee the state in droves, including famous Italian gun manufacturer Beretta who left for Tennessee in 2014.

However, people can still buy these items out of state and bring it to Maryland with no problems. As just a few miles away in Virginia, one can buy magazines without the same restrictions.  


Guns being sold by vender “Oh Shoot Guns”.

The Frederick gun show charges an admission t fee of $15 dollars to adults on entry. So it would make sense if the products inside could be found for lower prices. Well what if I were to tell you the opposite, that a prominant portion of the major vendors jack up the prices on many items. I remember one time when my dad was looking at a fairly basic semi-automatic rifle that fires a 22 cartridge. The vendor was selling it at a price of $799. Now, that seemed a bit fishy at first, so my father searched up the MSRP of the gun (manufacturer suggested retail price) and found the gun listed at $489, an over $300 dollar markup, after already having to pay to even enter.

The reason for price jackings like this our because of the physcology of having a “limited time event.” The idea is best explained by author Robert Cialdini, who says that “Anything that plays to that fear–ticking clock emojis in an email marketing campaign, limited-time offers–can stoke that sense of urgency and that impulse to purchase.” This practice is common in all types of business, but especially with Maryland gun shows. As due to the smaller portion of vendors, it may not be apparent that anyone else at the event is selling the same/similar item. Leading one to making a rash decesion rather then thinking it out.

The Lack of New Products

It is a rare occasion to happen across a new vendor at a gun show. I can say with confidence that every single one I’ve been to in Maryland has had the exact same 99% of vendors. Now that’s not to say that these vendors are all terrible. However, this doesn’t make up for the amount of products that are the same from event to event. This may be especially seen by the gun vendors, who will rarely offer any new items or deals. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the exact same Ruger 10/22 from the same vendor every single time.

A multitude of tables featuring mainly books.

This may be especially apparent to those who realize that around a third of the whole convention space is relegated to old gun magazines. While I like to fancy the idea of finding something interesting among the pounds of Cabella’s magazines and random pamphlets, it seems to become more of a fleeting hope anytime I rummage through the countless boxes across said tables.

If This Gun Show Is So Bad, Then Why Should I Go To Any Others?

Gun shows are always a spectacle when found in the right setting. Even if you may not be into the type of “Hobby, I believe it can still be great fun to find the cool (and sometimes wacky) items at these events. It just becomes slightly harder to find and attend.

If you find yourself interested, then I would highly recommend you attend The Nation’s Gun Show in Chantilly, Virginia. Going to the event last year was really the eye-opener to how amazing a gun show can truly be.