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By Charly Haley, chaley@forumcomm.com, Published January 04 2013

Big crowd expected at Fargo gun show

FARGO – Although he’s expecting higher attendance this year, an organizer of an annual gun show here says everything else will be the same as it has been for the past 30 years.

The Dakota Territory Gun Collectors is hosting its 36th annual gun show at the Fargo Civic Center today and Sunday. Those who attend can buy, sell or trade guns.

It’s the first 2013 show for the group, which schedules shows in North Dakota and South Dakota.

Bill Braun, a former president of the group and an organizer of the Fargo show, said he is expecting this year’s crowd to be much larger than the usual 3,000 people because of the recent hike in gun sales across the country.

The Dec. 14, 2012, school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 28 victims dead, has raised questions nationwide on the issue of gun control. This prompted an increase in gun sales and permits, out of fear that the government will enact stricter gun laws.

The day after the Newtown shooting, a gun shop in Fargo reported four times its usual gun sales, for instance.

“The public is scared,” Braun said.

Hannibal Haas, a vendor at the Fargo show, said his granddaughter went to a gun show in Green Bay, Wis., last week that had record attendance.

Braun said this weekend’s gun show will host its usual 150 dealers. The same laws that apply at a gun shop apply at the gun show, he said.

In addition to gun dealers, there will be other vendors like Haas, who will be selling knives, furs, jewelry and candies.

“It’s a tremendous event,” said Haas, 72 from Apple Valley, Minn. “We come to have fun.” Haas has been showing at the Fargo show for 20 years.

The show is traditionally a family event, Braun said, and each dealer has developed a local following.

“Families will come here and stay all day,” Braun said.

It’s also youth-oriented, he said. As a nonprofit, the Dakota Territory Gun Collectors donate money to youth groups that teach about hunting, the environment, gun training and similar causes.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Charly Haley at (701) 235-7311

If you go

What: Dakota Territory Gun Collectors

When: Today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Fargo Civic Center, 207 4th St. N.

Info: $5 for adults, free for children ages 12 and under

For more information: Go online to www.dtgca.net