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Big crowds at weekend gun show
Samuel Reese has been coming to the Colusa gun show for years.
"I think I have been here more years than they have actually had one," quipped the Roseville man, who took time out from his hunting to visit the show on Saturday.
The former Yuba City resident was not alone.
By 10 a.m. on the opening day, there was a line outside the fairgounds building and shoulder-to-shoulder occupancy inside.
Colusa artist Hal Tacker said it was so crowded in the early hours that it probably hurt sales, as the visitors were basically herded through the aisles.
But Tacker said he actually sold several pieces while setting up the booth, and once the crowd thinned again, he anticipated sales to pick up.
He also has been commissioned to do a couple of paintings.
"I have one of his airplane prints," said Reese.
But it was not airplanes or any other art Reese was after. Like many at the show, his target was ammunition.
Panic over the possible crackdown on gun and ammunition sales after the Connecticut school shooting has gun owners buying up everything in sight.
Show organizer Daryl Schaad, who has been putting on the event for 25 years with partner Larry Urrutia, said prior to the show that a couple of his ammunition vendors pulled out because they were out of stock.
Some ammunition that had been selling for 15 cents a round, has been going for more than $1 a round in recent weeks.
Reese thinks it is just crazy, but that does not change the reality.
"If you hunt, you need bullets, and I was hoping to find some deals," Reese said.
But it was his wife of 55 years, Claire, who found the deal.
"I bought some beautiful jewelry that matches some other pieces I have at home," she said. "I think I stole them for what I paid."
This was actually the first gun show she had attended.
"I didn't expect to see this many people. It's fun," Reese said.
Joyce Cooper of Clearlake also found a buy in the antique and collectible section of the show.
She bought a horse.
Her husband, Marv, had his 1944 M1 carbine rifle appraised by John Humphries, who hosts the KPAY 1290 AM show "Hidden Treasures" each Saturday morning out of Chico.
He also gave his opinion of an Italian-made rifle brought in by Jan Cummings of Colusa, which attracted attention as soon as she walked into the door.
It was only minutes after the appraisal that one of the nearby vendors offered to buy it.
"I'm going to hang it on my wall," said the man, who declined to give his full name.
And that too was part of the show.
There was a general tension over what many see will be an erosion of gun rights under the Obama administration.
Lots of folks had opinions, but few wanted to put their names behind them as long as the environment over gun ownership and what they believe are privacy issues are settled.
Reese does not think it will ever go that far, but understands the fears.
"I think you have less to fear if you stand up and speak out, but maybe they have more to lose than I do. I am just an old bird hunter," Reese said.