New policy at Harrisburg gun show prohibits loaded guns

C&E Gun Shows will host Harrisburg’s Gun and Knife Show at the Farm Show Complex this weekend.

The marquee out front entices show goers with a neon sign, “buy, sell, trade.”

Just don’t bring if it’s loaded.

In a departure from previous policy, the new promoter’s website clearly states “No loaded weapons … no exceptions,” to which Joe Staudt takes exception.

“It’s perfectly legal in Pennsylvania, it’s legal in Harrisburg and there’s no prohibition at the Farm Show,” said Staudt, who owns Staudt’s Gun Shop in Harrisburg.

Staudt has a license to carry and says he always packs personal heat, has done so at shows in the past, and thinks C&E is off target with its ban.

“Normally, what places will do is they’ll post a sign, ‘no loaded firearms except concealed carry,’ because concealed carry is a law-abiding person exercising their right to carry,” Staudt said.

Staudt lifted his T-shirt to reveal a handgun in his waistband that wasn’t visible before.

“If someone’s carrying a concealed weapon the proper way, they’ll never flash it,” said Wayne Heckert of Lower Paxton Township. “You’ll never know.”

Heckert collects antique guns and showed us two Civil War handguns. But this gun lover has no battle with the new restrictions.

“I have no objection with that whatsoever because why would someone need a loaded gun in the show?” he said.

Vendors were busy Friday afternoon in the Farm Show Complex setting up for weekend show. C&E’s website clearly states “No media interviews,” but president Steven Elliott broke that rule to tell us why loaded weapons are a no-no.

“It’s an insurance thing for us. We couldn’t get insurance if we allowed loaded weapons in the building. We run 90-plus shows a year and we have very good insurance and we don’t want to lose it,” Elliott said.

But gun owners like Joe Staudt don’t want to lose their rights to legally carry a loaded weapon as they have at shows in the past. He feels this is the one place that should be encouraging Second Amendment rights, not restricting them.

“For a place like a gun show to ban legal concealed carry, I think, is a mistake,” he said.

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