Yesterday, Reed Exhibitions announced that exhibitors would not be permitted to show or sell modern sporting home defense tactical rifles at this year’s Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg. They’d decided ”not to include certain products that in the current climate may attract negative attention that would distract from the strong focus on hunting and fishing.” [Full statement after the jump.] According to blog.pennlive.com, “Ed Several, general manager of the show, said the decision will impact five exhibitors out of the more than 1200 registered for the 2013 show . . . Several said the decision covers ‘just this year. Take a break for a year.’” The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) condemned the action but recommended that show-goers should go to show and protest the decision. [Press release after the jump.] Once again, The People of the Gun are learning who their friends are . . .
Reed Exhibitions Statement:
“The Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show is a unique celebration of the authentic hunting and fishing traditions that are cherished by millions of Americans and their families.
“We are proud to celebrate these pastimes by featuring 1,200 exhibitors offering a diverse range of products from outfitters to fishing boats and RVs, from archery to art and from clothes to cabins.
“As a hunting-focused event, we welcome exhibitors who wish to showcase products and firearms that serve the traditional needs of the sport.
“Clearly, we strongly support the Second Amendment.
“However, this year we have made the decision not to include certain products that in the current climate may attract negative attention that would distract from the strong focus on hunting and fishing at this family-oriented event and possibly disrupt the broader positive experience of our guests.
“ESS is proud to participate in the preservation and promotion of the rich hunting and fishing tradition passed from generation to generation by American families.”
NSSF press release:
The National Shooting Sports Foundation strongly disagrees with the decision of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show’s management to disallow the display and sale of Modern Sporting Rifles at its 2013 exhibition. In our discussions with Reed Exhibitions, we have made this very clear. While assuring us that all legally available firearms will be welcome at future Eastern Sports and Outdoor Shows, it was explained that this unfortunate decision was made in response to the planned actions of a single retailer that would have drawn significant unwelcomed media coverage at a time when firearms ownership is being assailed in the media. It is important to note that this year’s show will continue to feature a wide variety of firearms. However . . .
It would be unfair to penalize the 1,200 exhibitors or the some 200,000 sportsmen and women who will attend the show by discouraging participation at a time when the hunting and shooting sports community needs to be united in the face of political challenges. We urge industry exhibitors and attendees to participate in the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show as planned and encourage attendees to visit the Reed Exhibitions booth at the show to share their concerns and to then enjoy the show.