BANGOR, Maine — Otis resident Edwin “Sonny” Colburn brought a “suicide special” with the name Tramp’s Terror to the JT Reid’s Bangor Gun Show on Sunday in hopes of selling it.
“They made four different models. I still have a three and a four,” said Colburn, who just turned 81 and who is known locally as a co-founder of the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race. “I want 300 bucks for it.”
Colburn said his father got the antique gun back in the 1940s when a wealthy neighbor up the street died and he was able to purchase a box lot for $50.
“There were more than 500 guns,” he said, adding he later inherited a majority of them from his father.
If Colburn is able to find a buyer, the organizer of the gun show is requiring that person to get a background check through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, even though private sales are exempt.
“There is not a firearm that goes out of here without a background check,” John Reid, show sponsor and owner of JT Reid’s Gun Shop in Auburn, said Sunday as people shopped around him. “It’s not a requirement, but it’s safety. Safety and knowing where your firearm is going is very big.”
Background checks.are not required at gun shows, but all gun dealers are required to run them. Reid’s shop is providing the background checks for private sales at no cost to the seller or buyer, said Reid, who has been a gun dealer and collector for 28 years.
A table was set up in the corner of one of the two rooms for people to fill out the NICS paperwork, which provides an almost instant response to sellers about whether a prospective firearm purchaser is disqualified from receiving or possessing firearms.
Show assistant Charlie Rumsey, an organizer of the larger Bangor Gun Show — held the weekend after Labor Day and sponsored by the Penobscot County Conservation Association — said the plan is to also require all guns sales at the fall show to have background checks.
“That way we can bring in some collectors,” Rumsey said, adding many collectors who once displayed items over the years have stopped doing so because of regulations.
The Bangor Gun Show, which is a fundraiser for scholarships for University of Maine and Unity College students studying wildlife conservation and wildlife law enforcement, is hosting its 36th annual show in the fall, Rumsey said.
The JT Reid’s Bangor Gun Show opened its doors for the two-day event Saturday at the Elks Club and about 700 people walked through the doors, club manager Danny Hughes said.
“They have everything — semi-automatics, weapons, pistols of all kinds and hunting equipment,” Hughes said. “They have ammo. It’s mostly weapons and ammo.”
There are 33 vendors, some with just one table and others with up to six, Reid said.
While he has seen antique weapons and modern AK-47 assault-style rifles go out the door during the two-day gun show, most shoppers are looking for weapons to protect themselves or their homes, he said.
“Most are personal-protection use type firearms,” Reid said.
“The Damsel in Defense lady has been as busy as anyone,” the organizer said, pointing to Sue King’s table. “She sells stun guns and other non-lethal type weapons.”
King, who had stun guns, pepper sprays, personal alarms and emergency tools, demonstrated the power of the hand-held zappers to anyone who walked by. Said she sold a dozen stun guns on Saturday and by noon Sunday had sold a half dozen more.