The dream of Miller Bedford
New London, Ohio

Bedford’s dream started with “penny postcard” invitations and a thirty-five people in his backyard who brought prized pieces of individual collections. From this humble beginning, the world’s largest and oldest assembly of firearms collectors was born.

Foundations: The Inaugural Meeting

  • Upholding and promoting of the highest ethical standards in all activities
  • A united stand in opposing legislation “which might be injurious to the collection, possession and use of firearms by responsible collectors, shooters and sportsmen.”
  • Membership, with proper endorsement from 2 current members, would be open to any citizen over age 18, with no criminal record, and “having interest in the collecting, preservation, use and study of all kinds of arms and accessories.”
  • Spouses of the members were encouraged, even urged to attend meetings, which ranged in location from National Guard armories and fraternal halls to parks and fairgrounds.
Early meeting of members of OGCA circa 1939

OGCA circa 1939

Bedfords Postcard Graphic

Founder, Miller Bedford's postcard invitation that started it all.

World War II and Beyond

During World War II members of OGCA included distinguished military personnel, arms experts, and technicians including Capt. Clark Gable – Actor and Army Air Corpsman and Lt. Col. Calvin Goddard – the “father” of firearms investigation.

Post World War II the OGCA continued to grow

  • 1949 – On OGCA’s 12th anniversary it incorporated as a non-profit organization with more than 1,000 members. Annual dues were increased to $1.00 without dissent.
  • 1954 – The NRA invited collectors to erect educational firearms displays at its annual meeting. OGCA’s collectors would bring top honors in the firearms exhibit field including the NRA Gun Collectors Committee Trophy, the Silver Cup, which OGCA has accepted eleven times.
  • 1975 – OGCA’s official credo was formulated. Then and now it states, “We believe every responsible American has the unrestricted right to own pistols, rifles and shotguns. We believe when a person is convicted of a crime when a weapon is used, the punishment should be swift, certain and severe.”


In 1998, the Annual Display Show Committee was formed to create the first annual competition which is now recognized as one of the very best display shows in the nation. Thousands of dollars, beautiful bronzes and other prizes are awarded each year to the best exhibits. For those who display, it is pride of ownership, and a desire to pass on knowledge.

OGCA continues to expand its educational opportunities inviting featured guest speakers, instructors, living history reenactors and fellow firearm collector organizations such as The Winchester Arms Collectors Association, Ruger Owner & Collector Societies and many others.  OGCA also sponsors book signings by member authors, and is duly proud that over 100 of the best firearm-related books have been written by members. We also hold an Annual Recognition Banquet each spring.

Early OGCA Meeting

Early OGCA Meeting.



Father and Son Benson and Mike Brennan circa 1958

All in the family. The late Past President, Benson Brennan's workshop, circa 1958.

The Second Amendment

Over the years, OGCA joined forces with other pro-Second Amendment groups in fighting onerous, and ineffective firearms legislation. As legislative battles have evolved, OGCA relies on and supports the legal expertise of such allies as NRA and Buckeye Firearms Association in their up-front legislative battles. At the same time, its internal efforts focus on supporting the OGCA-PAC (Political Action Committee) in its never-ending effort to raise funds to support pro-Second Amendment politicians, and other important causes.


Recognizing that the future of this hobby rests with the youth of today, OGCA has also partnered with Sportsman’s Alliance Foundation to provide grants to Ohio’s youth target shooting and hunter education programs.

Today the six bi-monthly OGCA meetings remain a lively and active trading place of firearms – as well as ideas. The Ohio Gun Collectors Association was born during the great depression with a rustic charm and remains affordable and family friendly. It has continued to grow and prosper, not because the exhibition halls of The Ohio Gun Collectors Association hold unique, interesting and practical firearms – but because they hold people.

It has always been about people

OGCA Membership

Though closed to the public, OGCA meetings are huge events drawing thousands of people from across the country, and regularly feature 600-700 tables of strictly gun-related material. According to the National Rifle Association, OGCA is the “Granddaddy” of all firearm collector associations, having been founded in 1937 and now standing at over 16,000 members.

Pictured: William R. Ham with a favorite Ruger


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