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Congressman Mike Quigley

Representing the 5th District of Illinois

Quigley’s Day at an Indiana Gun Show

Sep 8, 2016

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) spoke on the House floor about his experience attending a gun show in Crown Point, Indiana.

Below is a video and transcript of the speech.

Mr. Speaker,

“Gun to the right. No gun to the left,” was the greeting I heard when I entered the Industrial Arts Building in Crown Point, Indiana.

On this particular sunny, Sunday afternoon in July, the enormous building was playing host to the Central Indiana Gun and Knife Show. 

The building, which sits on the Lake County Fairgrounds, plays host to garden shows, home improvement and craft vendors. 

But on this day, the 90-year-old brick building was featuring products that were of an altogether different nature.

As I entered, gun show visitors carrying weapons had to demonstrate to security that their guns were not loaded, 

While those not carrying could enter without screening. 

I paid my $5 entry, and was asked if I resided in Indiana. 

Being an Illinois resident, I answered “no” and received a hand stamp depicting me as out-of-state. 

At first glance, I saw kids hanging around vendors, munching on hot dogs. 

There were several hundred people in attendance by lunchtime, mostly white, middle aged men, but a few women as well.

And judging by the license plates in the parking lot, there were a healthy number of gun enthusiasts from my home state of Illinois in attendance. 

At most tables, you could hear the hagglers looking for a better deal or discussing options for their purchase.

They would ask:

“Chrome lined or stainless steel barrel?” 

“What about a free-float rail?” 

The possibilities seemed endless, as people wandered among dozens of tables. 

Sellers were offering everything from high-volume magazines and sophisticated scope systems, to attachable bipods and customized stocks. 

Prices for assault weapons typically ranged from $600 to $2,500, 

Including a bipod and two drum magazines, each capable of holding 100 rounds. 

One dealer explained that the wide variation in pricing depended on the bells and whistles—and the markup.

Not every weapon was particularly pricy: one vendor, who seemed eager to reduce inventory, marked down one of his assault rifles to under $400. 

There were tables upon tables of handguns for sale, 

As well as a folding, single-shot 22-caliber rifle – small enough to fit in a backpack – for under $200. 

Still other vendors offered to help customize your purchase on-the-spot. 

You could choose from dozens of barrel lengths and styles to go with your choice in stocks and other components.

There was plenty of ammo to go with any weapon you might purchase. 

Depending on the caliber and ammunition type, prices started as low as $10 for a box of 50. 

Boxes of ammunition with similar number of rounds for many assault rifles cost as little as $20. 

Another dealer offered high capacity, 50-round magazines for a gun show special of one for $20 or three for $55.

There was a lot gear aimed towards woman as well with pink, single shot rifles, body armor tailored for women, and purses designed for concealed carry. 

Even local charities got in on the scene, with an AR-15 being auctioned off to benefit the Marine Corps League. 

All you had to do to be included was buy a $1 raffle ticket, give your first name and phone number. 

It was a surreal atmosphere within the midst of recent tragedies, 

And it made me wonder if those in attendance were either oblivious or all too aware of those heartbreaking headlines. 

The gun show returns this month to Crown Point, 

But given the number of deadly weapons already on the streets of my hometown of Chicago, 

I think I’ll wait for the next home improvement show before making a return trip. 

Thank you and I yield back.