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Piece on Earth

Nothing says holiday cheer like a weapons show

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Thinking about going postal for the holidays, but don't want to be caught dead with last year's drab camo jacket and old-school .38?

How 'bout bopping your boss on the head with a genuine medieval mace or flinging a kung fu throwing star at the payroll manager? You can get an arsenal of ideas at the St. Louis Weapons Collectors Show, December 19 through 21 at the Stratford Inn (800 South Highway Drive in Fenton; 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday; $5 admission; 314-846-0751; www.stlweaponcollectors.com).

"It's a small show, but a lot of people go to it," reports gun dealer Larry Caruso (who, by the by, was indicted last September for selling firearms without proper documentation).

The show's wide appeal brings in the sportsman hunting for a deal as well as the avid gun collector looking to make a killing off some senile pacifist cleaning out his army footlocker.

"Three shows ago, some individual with no idea what he's got brought in a LeMat revolver in an oily rag," recalls show organizer Pete Cutelli. "I've only seen one in antique gun books, which have it going for $35,000. Before a friend of mine showed the guy what it was worth, I bet $1,000 would have bought that gun. So you never know what's gonna come in the door."

The organizers try their best to stave off the riffraff, however. "When you go to a gun show, you don't see a bunch of gangbangers with gold chains around their necks. You see fathers and sons looking for a shotgun to go turkey hunting," says Cutelli. "In the 23 years that I've been doing shows, I have never had the police contact me about tracking a gun back to the show or wanting the name of a dealer that the gun was bought from."

You see? The weapons show is not about corrupting our youth or arming the local psychopaths, after all -- we hope.

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