A steady stream of people paid the $10 admission charge and entered the main livestock building at the Dallas County Fairgrounds Sunday afternoon in order to browse the goods at Iowa’s first Militia Armaments Gun Show.
Alex from rural St. Louis, who did not wish to give his last name, has managed events for the Militia Armaments Gun Show for 10 years. He said the company is the largest promoter-organizer of gun shows in Missouri, and they also manage shows in Arkansas and Kentucky.
The three-day Adel show was the company’s first venture into the Iowa market, Alex said. He said he will run another gun show next weekend in Ames and the weekend after that in Cedar Rapids.
The stock barn at the fairgrounds held about 100 vendor tables. Alex said about 150 to 200 tables are best for small shows, but he was very pleased with the turnout of both customers and vendors for their first Iowa show. He said shows in the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles, Missouri, often have 600 vendor tables or more.
Dianna Thomas of Des Moines hosted a table for the Wake Foundation, which raises funds to pay for Honor Flights for U.S. military veterans. Raffle tickets were available for six unique collector’s guns and two large U.S. flags.
“It’s been a really good show,” Thomas said. “I’m glad they’re testing the Iowa market. The turnout’s been great.”
Dustin Johnson, owner of Silversting Custom Leather in Springfield, Missouri, was kept busy demonstrating his custom-made holsters for one customer after another. Johnson said business was brisk over the weekend, and he intends to return in September for the next Militia Armaments Gun Show in Dallas County.
U.S. companies lead the world in the sale of arms and military services, with the top five makers of weapons systems all based in the U.S.: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. The top five American companies registered $166 billion in annual arms sales in 2019.
The trade in small arms and light arms is often private, and comprehensive data is not available. Small arms and light arms include weapons that can be transported by one or two people or carried by pack animal or vehicles, and they range from firearms like pistols and light machine guns to shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
The U.S. has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world, according to 2018 figures, with about 120 guns for every 100 Americans. Demand greatly exceeds supply in the U.S. at present, according to dealers.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a constitutional-carry law April 2 that allows Iowans to buy and carry handguns without a permit.
“We will never be able to outlaw or prevent every single bad actor from getting a gun,” Reynolds said in a statement issued at the time of the Good Friday signing, “but what we can do is ensure law-abiding citizens have full access to their constitutional rights while keeping Iowans safe.”