Gun Show crowd expects to be one for the record books

Organizers expect this weekend's gun show at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center to reach record numbers.

"Our best year was in 2011. We had right at 5,000 people. I expect somewhere from 6-7,000 people this year," C & E, Land and Sky Gun Show coordinator Mike Kent said.

Kent runs 25 gun shows in North Carolina and South Carolina each year and estimates he's seen 25 percent more people at gun shows since last December.

"With the shooting in Connecticut and the proposed assault rifle ban coming up in Congress, we have seen record crowds at our gun shows," Kent said.

People attending the shows are looking for assault rifles, high powered shotguns and ammunition, he said.

"Assault rifles have gone through the roof price-wise. They're flying off the shelves," Kent said. "Some of the manufacturers have a six-month backlog right now, same thing with ammunition...For instance, I went to Walmart yesterday, there was no ammo on the shelves. None. They're still getting in shipments once a week, but it's still much smaller than it was in the past."

"It does help. Larger crowds means more sales for everyone," gun show vendor Stuart Wells said.

His Military and Paintball Depot company doesn't sells weapons nor ammunition, but he's still benefiting from the massive crowds.

"I know a lot of places are against them, and they're trying to stop the gun show business all together. But you have a lot of people that depend on this. Not only the vendors here, but a lot of the local ecomony," Wells said.

Kent expects people to start piling up outside of the convention center an hour before doors open.

But Jason Wallace, The Gun Store in Conway owner, has heard people will be there much earlier.

"I heard comments of folks talking about camping out in preparation for the show this weekend," Wallace said. "I heard rumors of tremendously long lines several hours before...So who knows?

Gun show workers will start selling tickets before doors open around 8 a.m. to ease the flow into the convention center, according to Kent.

The show will run this weekend from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday.