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A Fair-ish Article (as far as GunGrabbers go) from SALON: "This is the Wild West"!

“This is the Wild West”
At America's largest traveling gun show, ammo's cheap, private sales abound and the Second Amendment comes first

By Chris Arnold | Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 12:00 PM -0700

Crossroads of the West bills itself as the biggest traveling gun show in America, a bastion for constitutional rights where freedom lovers can exchange weapons, ammunition and ideas. The 35-year-old company promotes events in four states – Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah – and last year’s shows drew more than 407,000 customers at up to $16 bucks a pop. Last weekend, Crossroads occupied the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, and although these expos swing through the area regularly, the parking lot filled up fast.

There’s a seasonal element to the high traffic. Monsoon thunderstorms have cooled the desert lately, and temperatures in the mid-80s draw folks outside before the mercury spikes back into the triple digits. But there’s also a political element. Even by American standards, gun violence has been in the news a lot this year, and this show comes right on the heels of national political conventions where – even if candidates didn’t say much about guns – party platforms revealed two very different interpretations of the Second Amendment. There’s a sense of urgency on the airwaves. Local talk radio pundit Steve Kates hosts the two-hour weekly show “A Call to Rights” on KFNX 1100, the “independent talk” station that broadcasts Don Imus and Mike Savage across the Valley of the Sun. Last Saturday, the show featured Crossroads owner Bomb Templeton as guest numero uno, advising listeners on the impact the November election could have on their constitutional rights. Between Templeton’s appearance, word of mouth, and advertisements plastered in bus stations and on billboards for miles, anyone who likes guns probably knows where to go for competitively priced ammo between football games this weekend.

The main event is staged in the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, an indoor arena that hosts roller derbies, pet adoption fairs, home and garden shows and other events throughout the year. On the way inside, entrants pass a row of ATMs, an NRA information booth where two teenagers lean back in folding chairs, ice cream and Mexican food stands, and two emphatic sandwich boards reminding you to unload your weapons. Early-bird shoppers are already pushing hand carts of ammunition out to their trucks. In the foyer, sitting under a sign that reads “Your Second American Rights Guarantee All the Others,” an elderly gentleman makes sure that people empty their magazines and clips. In the main corridor, Steve Kates sits in the flesh, broadcasting live from an uncovered banquet table where his guest leans into the microphone, proudly sporting an NRA cap. The audio is piped through throughout the main corridor via a P.A. system set up near yet another crowded ATM, for cash is king here at the Crossroads of the West.

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