BELTON — Marine Corps veteran Joel Crutcher likes to educate people about the weaponry he sells.
“It is important to know what you’re doing with firearms,” said Crutcher, a vendor at The Real Gun Show on Saturday at the Bell County Expo Center. “I like to try to train people and talk to people as much as possible. I love instructing people on firearms.”
Thousands of people scoured more than 250 tables with items for sale, such as pistols, rifles, shotguns, semi-automatic weaponry, jewelry, leather products, coins and other collectables. In addition to vendors, some people strapped large unloaded guns with “for sale” signs to their backs as they haggled with other attendees.
“Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it,” said Art Behrends, the show’s promoter.
With crowds growing during recent shows, Behrends said there’s something for everyone in the family.
“There’s women’s jewelry and we have all kinds of things for kids of all ages. We’re all kids at heart,” he said. “It’s a good day.”
Tanya Ehrlich and her husband, Darryl, drove from Round Rock to attend the show in search of items to add to their collection of guns and knives.
“It’s pretty good,” she said. “It’s interesting stuff to look at. Pretty much everything is interesting.”
The couple surveyed tables, like Crutcher’s, which featured different types of hunting and assault riffles, shotguns, pistols and accessories — all products he’s knowledgeable about.
It’s important to be responsible when dealing with firearms, Crutcher said. “Anytime people are buying firearms, especially in times like this where there’s a lot of controversy with firearms and whatnot, people need to know that firearms aren’t bad, there’s only bad people.”
Although a lot of people don’t quite understand his hobby of collecting and selling guns, Crutcher said firearms are something he enjoys. “Some people collect rocks; I enjoy firearms, collecting and shooting them,” he said. “There’s two different spectrums to it — to protect family and where it’s a sport and you can go out to the range and shoot.”
This weekend’s show is the first of five scheduled gun shows this year in Belton, Behrends said.