Individual organizations and various industries have their own set of rules and regulations when it comes to their tradeshows; however, specialty markets, such as gun shows, include a variety of special considerations, the most important being safety for everyone involved.
Chris Alexander, Owner and Operator, Midwest Defense Solutions LLC., is a seasoned arms professional with a background in law enforcement (reserve police officer in Milwaukee, WI). He notes many factors from choosing the right event location to the rules and regulations involved in holding a safe and successful event.
One of the biggest factors involved is insurance liability. Alexander emphasizes: “As a promoter, you need to find special event coverage. Gun shows are somewhat unique and there is one that is sponsored through the National Rifle Association (NRA) where you can basically fill out a sheet that has a checklist. There are questions, like will there be alcohol allowed onsite, will you be checking firearms outside, will you offer private sales, etc. In using this form it gives an insurance underwriter a better feel. I think it’s smart to have your own insurance as a promoter even when your event location does. You can do this by event or yearly based on the number of shows and attendees.”
In looking at Alexander’s specific shows, attendees typically include gun owners, enthusiasts, hunters, shooting sport industry members and individuals interested in conceal carry guns.
Rules & Regulations from the Midwest Defense Solutions LLC., Show:
Exhibitors can bring in any and all types of guns provided they have the proper documentation via the National Fire Arms Act (NFA). They are responsible for their own property.
Attendees may also bring guns in to trade, sell or appraise. We allow sales between exhibitors and the general public.
All firearms are required to be inspected, tied open and are subject to inspection at any time throughout the show.
All laws pertaining to the vendor selling or trading the firearm are their responsibility.
We do not “police” the vendors to have proper paperwork, licenses or permits although we do encourage appropriate screening.
No alcohol is allowed on premises.
No concealed firearms allowed on premise.
The main difference between gun shows and other meetings and events lies in the extra safety measurements needed for the attendees, exhibitors and general public. It is highly recommended that all sales are properly documented to protect the sellers and buyers. Gun show promoters and planners develop relationships with the local law enforcement and generally invite their input and presence. Security and law enforcement (via the show promoter’s encouragement) is crucial in making sure that local and federal laws are being followed to ensure a safe and successful show.