This vision of the future is plumb scary.
(Stolen from this blog:)
It was a weird experience this Saturday morning in April of 2010. I had never experienced walking right into the door of the Central Florida Gun Show at the Lakeland Civic Center as normally there was a long line waiting for the show to open. The armored car in the parking lot was a new, interesting twist as it has been two years since I had ventured into the show, but since the latest grocery store attack, security has been beefed up at all public venues and the deployment of the new Homeland Security “Home Guard” national police force was a given.
The HG had about fifty officers there plus the car so as I walked in the door, I was not shocked to see their presence everywhere. The table with the ticket sellers had two people in line which for ten in the morning was rare as best I could remember. I started some idle chit-chat asking “so how many vendors are here for this show?” Suddenly one of the black uniformed officers walked over and asked me “why do you want to know this information?” I replied to him “just curious, I used to come to this show and see over six hundred dealers, nothing important I guess.” The officer nodded and walked away, with the MP5 dangling off his shoulder ready for action. I handed the money to the lady and she motioned me over to another table to turn in my ticket.
I handed the ticket to another lady and she said “passport, USID, or driver’s license please.” Startled, I asked “when did this start to be part of the show?” She replied “April 1, 2010 when the Kennedy-Martinez Domestic Security Act was passed. There’s a copy of the information sheet and all instructions for gun show participants and customers at the end of the table.” She motioned to a stack of documents, photocopied and stacked high, as they seemed to anticipate a large crowd that day. Reluctantly, and under the watchful eye of some pretty scary looking officers, I handed her my driver’s license and watched her key in all of the information into a computer. Out of the printer another document was spit out which had a bar code and all kinds of official seals and information on it, but the large bold title was what caught my attention:
April 17, 2010 ONLY…Lakeland Civic Center 10:01 a.m. EDT.
Gun Show Permit – Purchases Permitted
Somewhat befuddled, as I was busy working at any job I could take and did not pay attention to much in the news I asked the elderly lady, “where to next?” She pointed at the door and I handed the document to the HG Officer who had some rank. He said “diver’s license, passport, or USID please” and put his hand out. I reached into my wallet again and handed my license to him. He scanned it, then passed a laser gun like they use at the grocery stores over the “permit” and handed everything back to me. The officer then said “have a nice day, enjoy shopping here” to which I just said thanks and moved on.
Normally this show had hundreds of vendors but now there were less than a hundred and the pickings were mighty slim. To my relief though, my favorite shop where I had been buying weapons and ammo for years was right there where he had always been on the second row by the main entrance. I said “Mike, how the heck have you been?” and walked up to him with my hand extended to shake his. He put his hand out, shaking mine and said “Tired and stressed my friend. The new regs are really killing the business.” I looked at his eyes and realized he was not kidding. He only had ammunition in .22, .30-06, 12 gauge, 9mm and of all things, .32. I asked him with some concern “What happened to all your ammo for AK’s and Bushmasters?” He said that they were no longer allowed to sell those calibers as they were restricted for military use only now. Then he stunned me by asking “Have you failed to turn in your ammo in those calibers?” As he said that the HG officer on that aisle moved in closer to hear my answer. I replied “Oh, we shot all that up years ago. It’s been two years since I’ve been to the show and I came here to buy a gun for my son on his sixteenth birthday.” Mike nodded and said “Well, I have just the rifle for him.” I cut him off and said “Where’s the Ruger 10/22’s? That’s what I really want to get him; are you sold out?” Mike’s eyes spoke volumes and he softly said “We are not allowed to sell semi-autos any longer. Rifles and shotguns only and that is restricted to single shot bolt action rifles or side by side or single round shotguns. The instructions and limitations are on the back of your show permit.” Stunned, I turned it over and sure as heck, there it was under the “Kennedy-Martinez Act” restrictions and notations. With that I told Mike “That’s cool. Let me have the bolt action .22 Marlin and a thousand round brick of ammo.” Mike shook his head again and said “You had best read all of that. The dealers nationwide are now limited to one hundred rounds per customer per month of rifle ammunition and thirty rounds of shotgun ammunition per month per customer.” With that stunning piece of information I said “Okay, let’s close the deal, that’s what I’ll buy then.” The HS officer motioned to the door and another officer started walking towards the table to join him. I pulled my debit card out of my wallet and handed it to Mike to close the transaction. “305.75 will be your charge today sir.” Mike was saying that like he was a robot and the HS officers were both watching intently. Then he said “Sir, your card has been declined. Your bank may be part of the National Gun Restriction Network which disallows firearm and ammunition purchases. Do you have another credit card or cash?” Now, I was getting upset but when guys in black are standing there with machine guns, you don’t say much. “Here’s some cash,” putting it down on the table somewhat harshly counting out three hundred and twenty dollars in twenties. As I finished, one of the HG guys approached me and asked “Where did you get all that cash sir?” I replied to him coldly “I’ve been saving my tax refund and withdrawing money from ATM’s over the last year to save up for this for my son. I had no idea prices had gone up so much. Who ever heard of twenty-five bucks for fifty rounds of .22?” The officer grinned and replied “Well fifteen of that is service, handling and processing fees. Welcome to the new gun show reality.” As Mike handed my change to me, he asked for my driver’s license and gun show permit. He walked over to a computer, scanned the permit, then my driver’s license. I thought that was unusual, but he came back with another document titled “FPPD-Federal Purchase Processing Document” and then instructed me to take this, and the firearms over to Booth 101 on the West side of the building. Befuddled, I reached for the rifle and Mike said “Uh, no. You’re not allowed to touch the weapon until processing is complete. The officer will hand it to you after you are done at Booth 101.”
Strange as that sounds, I headed that way carrying on idle discussion about the Bucs’ prospects this season with the HG officer as we went over to 101. As I approached the booth, he drew the curtain back and motioned me inside. It was just a curtained area with a camera, some computers, bar code readers, and two more HG officers with MP5’s. A tough looking lady in the all black HG uniform called me over and said “Please hand me your driver’s license, gun show permit, bank debit card, and FPPD please.” I obliged but now started to wonder just what in the tarnation was going on. After she scanned and typed for what seemed like forever she said “Please put your right and left thumbs on the two fingerprint scanners over here.” As I completed that a sudden pain hit my left thumb and it was bleeding a little bit. As I was about to ask here about the apparent DNA test and was about to ask her what was going on, she anticipated it and gave the pre-programmed speech “Per the Kennedy-Martinez Act all purchases are registered and validated as not a threat to Homeland Security and to protect you should your weapon be stolen. Terrorism is a real threat and we’re doing our part to insure your Second Amendment rights and protect your freedoms. If you will please, remove your ball cap so we can take a photo to complete processing.” Wrapping my thumb with the band-aid, I moved to the white line on the floor and got my picture taken and was motioned to the end of the cubicle.
She asked that I wait in Booth 102 while processing was complete which I was more than happy to do, as this process was getting on my nerves. She walked out ten minutes later with copies of all kinds of documents in a sealed Ziploc bag and said “Thank you for your patience. Enclosed in this bag is a record of your purchase, the serial numbers of the currency used, the serial number of your firearm and each round of ammunition, and of course the permit which is good for thirty days should you elect to go to another show. Thank you for upholding your Second Amendment rights in these turbulent times.” As I took everything and started to exit, I felt like I was booked by the police, which in fact, I think I was. “This is my last gun show, ever” I thought to myself.
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