Skip to main content

On the weekend of September 30, RK Shows, Inc. held a survivalist and gun expo in Kansas City, Missouri.  RK Shows Inc. bills itself as one of the largest gun and knife show promoters in the US and promotes its’ expos to hunting enthusiasts, outdoorsmen, and organic gardeners. Though the expo did feature vendors selling all manner of wilderness and disaster survival goods alongside vendors selling guns, bullets, knives, and axes of every shape, size, and color. Beyond what was advertised and woven throughout the vendors’ tables were racist, Tea Party and militia materials were for sale. Also, a self-published author connected to the Tea Party movement offered his books and militia groups were signing people up to join. This was not simply an everyday place to check out the latest in guns and water purifiers; this was a recruiting ground.

The racist and anti-Semitic propaganda for sale at the expo varied widely. One vendor was selling several styles of Nazi flags and racist t-shirts, including one that depicted the Pillsbury Doughboy sporting a Hitler mustache and giving the Nazi salute, with the caption, “White Flour”.   Multiple vendors had confederate flags by themselves and printed on knives for sale.  You could also purchase anti-Hillary Clinton or pro-Donald Trump t-shirts or cartoons.  Another vendor was selling a racist cartoon dollar, which had a Kenyan flag stamped with the year President Obama was born and depicted Obama smoking, calling him a fraud, said he is worth “worth twice nothin”. Other cartoon dollars had similarly racist and pro-Trump messages.  The Gadsden flag, an adopted symbol of the Tea Party movement, was also on sale in many forms from different vendors.

Even more ubiquitous at the various vendor booths was the Three Percenters’ logo. It was printed on shirts, hats, patches and even fitness bracelets. Almost every vendor selling items that can have printed logos was offering goods branded with the logo of the Three Percenters.

On top of the racist and anti-Semitic vendors peddling their wares, members of the Kansas City Area Militia and the Missouri Militia were in attendance and actively recruiting new members. And, Tea Party activist, self-published author, and anti-immigrant blogger, Robert Owens was there selling his books.

The presence of militia groups and racist paraphernalia is not a new phenomenon at gun and survivalist expos but it is a troubling one as these events increase their attendance and their reach.  RK Shows Inc. has two or more expos in cities across the Midwest and the South every weekend. These regular and well-attended events provide an ideal space and audience for militias, Tea Partiers, and racists to continue to organize and gain a stronger foothold in our country.


Zachary Mueller

Author Zachary Mueller

More posts by Zachary Mueller