Coming in mid-May: Fifth Annual USCCA Concealed Carry Expo


The fifth annual Concealed Carry Expo sponsored by the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) will unfold the weekend of May 17-19 in Pittsburgh, and it could be a lively event. It is being held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

According to USCCA spokesman Kevin Michalowski, last year’s event in Louisville brought 15,000 people through the doors. Those are armed citizens or people who wanted to become armed citizens looking for information and educational opportunities and visiting with more than a hundred exhibitors.

USCCA’s Kevin Michalowski

USCCA’s Kevin Michalowski at a past Concealed Carry Expo. Photo courtesy USCCA

This time around, Michalowski said there will be approximately 160 exhibitors and more than 70 seminars throughout the 2 ½-day event. Of particular import, he said, is a program featuring former police officer Ron Aguiar, who will present information on “Defending Houses of Worship.”

Memories are still fresh in Pittsburgh from last October’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, not to mention last month’s horrendous terror attack at two mosques in New Zealand. Of course, the immediate reactions from government officials in both countries was to call for additional restrictions on gun owners.

But as Michalowski and his colleagues know, being able to fight back has its merits. Aguiar has written a book about providing security to houses of worship titled “Keeping Your Church Safe.” The same principles can apply to synagogues and mosques.

This program was not set up in response to the two tragedies. Michalowski said the expo is typically planned 18 months in advance, so this was in the works long before Pittsburgh or Christchurch.

“This is an education seminar wrapped around a consumer show,” Michalowski said in an interview with Insider Online. “We’ll have a live fire opportunity for people who want to try out different guns, supervised by USCCA instructors.”

There will be a program for women, led by women. Visitors will find firearms and equipment exhibits, and an event called The Proving Ground. The latter will involve a live, on-stage training event.

Tim Schmidt

Tim Schmidt, founder and president of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association. Dave Workman photo

USCCA is headquartered in West Bend, Wis. It was founded by Tim Schmidt, who serves as president and CEO. He has appeared at the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference, sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

USCCA, according to its website, “is the largest and fastest-growing association whose sole focus is the responsibly armed American.” The group provides education, training and self-defense protection for responsible gun owners.

Blowback For Beto

Say what you want about Fox News, but allow yourself to chuckle a bit over what host and commentator Pete Hegseth did after presidential candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke suggested banning sales of AR-15 rifles.

The far-left O’Rourke, who was hardly a friend of gun owners when he was running to unseat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz—ending his career in the U.S. House—was quoted by Newsweek pontificating that, “If you own an AR-15, keep it. Continue to use it responsibly and safely. I just don't think that we need to sell anymore weapons of war into this public.”

His rhetoric was reminiscent of another media darling politician who infamously told the American public, “If you like your (health insurance) plan, you can keep your plan.”

That apparently struck the wrong nerve with Hegseth, a veteran who co-hosts Fox & Friends Weekend. He encouraged people to go out and buy an AR-15, even if they already own one.

NY Times Columnist Wants ‘Gun Safety’

ulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof couldn’t resist writing about the New Zealand tragedy, declaring that the Kiwis moved quickly to deal with their “gun problem,” and wondering why the United States can’t.

Perhaps not surprisingly, nowhere in his diatribe did he discuss that nasty business about the Second Amendment protecting a fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms. Instead, he argued, “The regulatory model to follow is automobiles. We haven’t outlawed cars, but we have required safety modifications (seatbelts, airbags) and limited access to them (licenses, bans after drunken driving) in ways that have sharply reduced the fatality rate per miles driven.”

Okay, let’s try this out. You can drive a car in all 50 states, so if we treat guns like cars, shouldn’t we be able to carry guns across state lines? After all, driving is a privilege, but bearing arms is a constitutionally enumerated individual right.

Armed Citizen Stops Killer

When a Georgia woman was fatally shot outside of a Wells Fargo bank in Alpharetta, an armed citizen drew down on the suspect—an ex-boyfriend, according to published reports—and held him at gunpoint until police arrived.

According to an online publication called the Second Amendment Daily, the unidentified armed Samaritan was hailed as a hero.

Here’s part of the message that the Alpharetta police posted on their Facebook page:

“In regards to the armed citizen who intervened until we arrived, we cannot express enough the appreciation we have for the partnership we have with our community. Thank you to everyone else for respecting our crime scene, being patient waiting on the details, and all the messages of support you have for us.”

This slaying, according to the police, was no random act. The victim and the suspect had been in a relationship. He faces a murder charge.

Literally Adding Insult To Injury

A 46-year-old Indiana man will likely carry a memory of his careless gun handling for the rest of his life, and it’s not because of a guilty conscience or even because his misadventure made embarrassing news from Miami to Sacramento.

Nope, his reminder will be the interesting scars that will linger because he accidentally put a bullet through his plumbing, a.k.a. “the family jewels.” Published reports say he was packing a 9mm Hi-Point pistol in his waistband, apparently without benefit of a holster. The gun started to slip, the guy reached for it and, well, that handgun went “BANG!”

The bullet entered above his drainpipe and exited through his scrotum.

But wait, there’s more! This poor fellow did not have a carry license, so in addition to his other problems, he got charged by the Grant County Prosecutor with a Class-A misdemeanor.