BREAKING: Reed Exhibitions Cancels 2013 Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) just sent us an email blast: Reed Exhibitions has cancelled the 2013 Eastern Mountain and Sports Outdoor Show. (Official announcement from their website after the jump.) The decision comes after dozens of exhibitors pulled out, protesting Reed’s decision to ban “modern sporting rifles” and “high capacity magazines” from the exhibition hall floor. What’s more, the NSSF’s press release (also after the jump) intimates that the gun industry lobby group is looking to bail on the British-born exhibition organizer for the next SHOT Show. Our sources tell us that the NSSF’s lawyers are busy “weighing their options” (i.e. looking for a way out of their contract). Bottom line: don’t mess with The People of the Gun.

Reed Exhibitions’ Statement

Reed Exhibitions has decided to postpone, for now, the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show given the controversy surrounding its decision to limit the sale or display of modern sporting rifles (also called ARs) at the event. The show was scheduled to take place February 2-10 in Harrisburg, PA.

“Our original decision not to include certain products in the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show this year was made in order to preserve the event’s historical focus on the hunting and fishing traditions enjoyed by American families,” said Chet Burchett, Reed Exhibitions President for the Americas. “In the current climate, we felt that the presence of MSRs would distract from the theme of hunting and fishing, disrupting the broader experience of our guests. This was intended simply as a product decision, of the type event organizers need to make every day.

“It has become very clear to us after speaking with our customers that the event could not be held because the atmosphere of this year’s show would not be conducive to an event that is designed to provide family enjoyment. It is unfortunate that in the current emotionally charged atmosphere this celebratory event has become overshadowed by a decision that directly affected a small percentage of more than 1,000 exhibits showcasing products and services for those interested in hunting and fishing.

“ESS has long been proud to participate in the preservation and promotion of hunting and fishing traditions, and we hope that as the national debate clarifies, we will have an opportunity to consider rescheduling the event when the time is right to focus on the themes it celebrates.”

NSSF press release:

We have just learned that Reed Exhibitions has decided to postpone the 2013 Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show. In the days following Reed Exhibitions’ announcement that modern sporting rifles would be prohibited from the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, the leadership of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has been in intense, frank discussions with Reed Exhibitions management in an effort to reverse this unacceptable decision. These discussions reached an impasse.

NSSF is in no way affiliated with, nor does it participate in or exhibit at this show in any way. Reed Exhibitions does, however, manage the NSSF-owned SHOT Show (though Reed manages the SHOT Show, all SHOT Show decisions, policies and actions are made at NSSF’s direction).

Because of Reed’s recent actions, NSSF is considering all options regarding the management of future SHOT Shows.