More Than 200 Exhibitors Withdraw from PA Outdoor Show After Organizer Banned ‘Assault Weapons’

By mid-day on Jan. 23, more than 200 exhibitors — and counting — had withdrawn from the Eastern Sports and … Continued

By mid-day on Jan. 23, more than 200 exhibitors — and counting — had withdrawn from the Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show, Pennsylvania’s largest annual outdoor sports show, following event organizer Reed Exhibitions’ decision to ban the display and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

The nine-day show is scheduled to open Feb. 2 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.

The ESOS’s website says Reed “strongly supports the 2nd Amendment” but negative attention on such weapons “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.”

Unfortunately for Reed, there may not be much at the show for guests to “experience” with the departure of many prominent exhibitors and vendors.

Among the departed: The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Cabela’s, Inc., the National Wild Turkey Federation, the National Rifle Association, Smith & Wesson, and many local vendors, such as Kinsey’s Outdoors of Mount Joy, Lancaster Archery Supply, and Trop Gun Shop of Elizabethtown.

The Montana-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation canceled its exhibit and its management of the show’s elk-calling contest before issuing a statement calling actions taken by Reed, a British company: “detrimental to the Second Amendment and our right as Americans to bear arms.”

“We urge Reed Exhibitions to reconsider its policies to avoid a divisive and political atmosphere,” the statement continues, “so RMEF can take part in an event that generates needed revenue for important on-the-ground conservation and hunting heritage projects in the region.”

Cabela’s said on its Facebook page on Jan. 19 that after considering Reed’s decision “and the feelings of our customers, Cabela’s will, unfortunately, not have a presence at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show.”

The NRA issued a statement calling upon Reed to reconsider. “Unfortunately they have steadfastly refused to do so,” the NRA statement reads. “Due to Reed Exhibitions’ refusal to reconsider their decision to ban modern sporting rifles from the (show), the National Rifle Association has decided to withdraw from the show.”

For updated listings of exhibitors, vendors and manufacturers who will not be attending the show, go to http://mynortheastoutdoors.com//.

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