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Weapons of mass interest draw crowd

Sunday, February 8, 2004

James Clark likes to come to gun shows to meet good, friendly, law-abiding citizens.

"Nobody ever got shot at a gun show," explained Clark of Poplar Bluff, Mo.

On Saturday he joined crowds at the SEMO Gun Show in Cape Girardeau held at the A.C. Brase Arena Building.

A cornucopia of supplies for sportsmen, the show includes guns, knives, ammunition, scopes, muzzle loaders, archery, sporting goods, safes and tools. It continues today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Clark, a 37-year-old retired Gulf War veteran, learned a lot about weapons in the Army. At the gun show he toted three Sega hunting rifles on his back. Attached to one of the three semiautomatic rifles was a 10-by-12-inch placard listing specifics about the rifles and scopes he had for sale.

He said he's always used signs to sell while he shops for himself.

Prepared for success, Clark had several neatly typed bills of sale in his knapsack to make transactions official.

Jeff Funston of Festus, Mo., came to the gun show with his father-in-law, Julian Steiner of Cape Girardeau.

"Julian got me going on this stuff," he said.

Clad in a Windsor Wrestling hoodie and sweat pants, Funston is a football and track coach at Windsor High School in Imperial, Mo. But Saturday he stuck out from the crowd without camouflage clothing, a cap or facial hair. Funston owns one gun that he received as a Christmas present.

Mike and Sandy Bell planned on just looking at weapons at the show. But Mike Bell ended up buying a Remington rifle.

"We came planning on not buying anything, but when you get a good enough deal, you can always sell it and make your money back," Sandy Bell said.

Mike Bell bought something for his wife too. Calling it an early Valentine's Day present, he gave her an electric drill so she could complete the tree house she's building for their two children.

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