Rifles line a table at Sunday’s Clovis Lions Club Spring Gun Show at the National Guard Armory in Clovis. The two day event featured more than just guns, including coins, belt buckles, artwork, jewelry, knives and books. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer
Oh yeah, there were guns alright. It was a gun show, so clearly there would be guns.
But what one might not expect to see at the gun show were the romance novels … and the collectable coins and gold necklaces.
“Everything is for sale,” said Hal Helton, president of Clovis Lions Club, the group that held the 2005 Clovis Lions Club Spring Gun Show on Saturday and Sunday.
When he says everything, that’s just what he means.
One vendor at the weekend’s show, Wayne Morgan of Ruidoso, dealt in coins, belt buckles, artwork, jewelry, knives and books — items, he said, that go a long way toward appeasing the significant other.
“The guys buy the jewelry for their wives cause they’ve been gone all weekend,” Morgan said.
One would not know Morgan was even a gun show vendor except for the two inconspicuous wooden stocked, bolt-action rifles beside a framed picture of John Wayne — which he was also selling.
One table was full of Japanese and German pistols from World War II, insignia from the period and other small arms. However, just a few steps over, right between a couple of antiquated rifles, was a small pile of romance novels.
Another vendor was selling golf balls and hand-carved statuettes.
“Some of the shows, they bill them as a gun show and expo,” Helton said, explaining why there were so many non-gun related items for sale.
But the guns on display were serious weapons. One interesting feature of this year’s gun show was all the assault rifles.
An AR-15 with collapsible stock, muzzle loaders and high capacity magazines was illegal one year ago.
This year Stacy Hodges, who promoted the event and also sells guns, had a couple for sale for around $800 each. A 10-year assault rifles ban expired in September, but vendors said there hasn’t been a lot of new interest in the weapons.
Hodges is a member of the Lions Club and operates a gun-smithing operation in La Luz. He said these shows are good for the community.
“These gun shows are an avenue for them to create funds for causes they support,” said Hodges, adding, “there is a difference between fund-raising and charity.”
The gun show had about 35 vendors in all, hailing from Socorro, Lubbock, El Paso, Aztec, Deming, Farmington and other places in New Mexico. About 500 gun enthusiasts filed through to see the weapons on Saturday and Sunday, Helton said.
Helton said the Clovis Lions Club will use the proceeds from the event for community projects. Their next gun show will be held in October.