#2A Stand: PA Sporting Expo Canned Due to Gun Ban

It was with much fanfare that in November the Eastern Sports and Outdoor show announced the dates for the largest show of it’s kind.  But the organizer of the event made a decision that many see as against the 2nd Amendment  Here from Ammoland.com is an excerpt summing up the event.

HARRISBURG, PA --(Ammoland.com)- The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show will present its 57th edition of the largest show of its kind February 4-12, 2012 at the State Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, PA.

This year’s show will feature the latest and greatest in hunting and fishing equipment and techniques presented by more than 1,200 exhibitors including: more gun manufacturers than ever, a fully loaded fishing and boat hall, two full archery halls, and hundreds of guides and outfitters from across the USA and around the world.

A wide range of celebrity guests and seminar speakers will meet fans and provide expert advice and instruction throughout the show including: Ralph & Vicki Cianciarulo, Lee & Tiffany Lakosky, Hank Parker, Fred Eichler, Jimmy Houston and many more.

Family entertainment will include Raptors Up Close, Chris Bracket Archery Trick Shooting, Kids Trout Pond, and a NEW Kids Day on Saturday, February 11, featuring an entire day of fun activities for kids.

That was  before the shootings at Sandy Hook and the lefts push to take guns out of the hands of Americans.  On January 15, 2013 Reed Exhibitions announced that they were banning what they called “Modern Hunting Rifles.”
Reed incorrectly thought that this would just affect a few of the exhibitors and not impact the overall tenor of the show.  The backlash was quick and costly to both the organizers and the Harrisburg Pennsylvania economy. The paper of record provided a very good timeline of what has ensued since the announcement.
Here from the The Patriot News
Jan. 16: Within 24 hours of the decision to ban tactical rifles, which Reed initially said would only involve less than a dozen of the more than 1,200 vendors, hundreds of people post to the show’s Facebook page, saying they wouldn’t be attending.

Jan. 20: Cabela’s Inc., one of the show’s signature sponsors, pulls out and is hailed as champions of gun-rights advocates by many of the more than 600 commenters on PennLive.

Jan. 21: Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, hosts of the Outdoor Channel’s show “The Crush” announce they are boycotting the show. The couple say it was a hard decision, but in the end they “couldn’t support a show that doesn’t completely support the Second Amendment.” … Nonprofits such as LEEK Hunting and Mountain Preserve are worried about how a proposed boycott will hurt their ability to raise funds for their programs.

Jan. 22: The Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, which began the show in the 1950s, threatens to pull out of the show, saying “Upon hearing of this decision, we worked closely with the [NRA] and industry representatives, who were in discussions with Reed’s upper management. We hoped that through continued discussions, we would be able to convince them to reverse their position.” It was the federation that turned the running of the show over to Reed when it became too big for it to handle.

Jan. 23: A website promoting the boycott lists more than 200 vendors who say they wouldn’t be attending the show. Vendors who have nothing to do with guns say they are in a “lose-lose situation” because they will be thought of as anti-gun if they attend.  … Sportsmans Liquidation, a 19-store retail chain that sells discounted hunting, fishing and outdoor brands, announces it’s dropping out of the show.  … The Nat’l Wild Turkey Federation pulls out of the show, taking its popular turkey-calling contest with it.  … The National Rifle Association joins the growing list of “sorry, but we will respectfully decline your invitation” groups.

Jan. 24: Olympic gold medalist Jamie Gray announces she will not be making a scheduled appearance at the show. The Lebanon native, who won 3×20 rifle in the London Games, makes her announcement on her Facebook page.

Jan. 25: The loss of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, because really, who expects it to be rescheduled, will mean a projected $43 million loss to the region.

Reed has failed to see what they have done and if you go to their website for this event you will see the following.

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.”

I have not read a more mealy mouthed corporate response to an issue than this in a long time.

The decision was made to preserve the original intent of the show? The decision was made by a corporation with a very small backbone and poor leadership.  The people who attend this show are the heart and soul of this country.

They don’t go to these shows to find a weapon to kill mass numbers of people.

While they enjoy the ownership of many types of weapons they understand the reasons why these weapons should be protected.   And as you can see the response from the folks who love guns was swift.  That response included the organization that started the show 57 years ago.

What is amazing is that a website dedicated to the exhibition trade went even one step further.  Blaming the media for the controversy.

MEDIA STORM FORCES REED TO CANCEL HUNTING SHOW

posted on: 24/1/2013 17:51:20


AR15 Ban RESIZEDAMERICAS – Reed Exhibitions has cancelled its Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show (ESS) after a decision to ban tactical weapons and high-capacity magazines from the event sparked media controversy and exhibitor withdrawal.

The show, which was due to take place on 2-10 February in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, became the subject of heated discussion over its decision to ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines in an effort to avoid negative media coverage.

Reed’s decision prompted the withdrawal of the National Rifle Association (NRA) as well as several key sponsors including Cabela’s Inc.

The NRA said it had called on Reed Exhibitions to “reconsider its decision,” but that they had “steadfastly” refused to do so. “As a result, the NRA will not be participating in the upcoming show in Harrisburg or in any other shows hosted by Reed Exhibitions that maintain this policy,” an NRA spokesman said.

You can hear the NRA haters already, but read what is being written: ” The NRA tried to save the show.”

Hours were spent looking for the media controversy mentioned by the spin doctors at Exhibition World.  In fact the bulk of the stories that could be found are dated after Reed had already postponed the show.

There was no media controversy.

What did happen is the people who believe in the 2nd Amendment reacted quickly to a bad decision and the people voted with their feet. Vendors who were not effected by the ban were offended by it and backed out.  Stars and professional shooters cancelled appearances.

Let’s go back for a second and read this one comment from the Reed Company.

“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.”

So blind is Reed Exhibitions, they fail to see that the people who attend this show are the most staunch defenders of the right to bear arms.  They attempt to blame some “phantom atmosphere” driven by the left, and then succumb to it. But it was their decision that caused the backlash.

Sadly we may never have the Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show again, but here is hoping that it gets reorganized sans Reed.