Gun rights and gun control advocates demonstrate Wednesday in the Pennsylvania Capitol building. Both sides of the gun control debate had rallied in Harrisburg over the ban on assault weapons at the now-canceled Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show.
post-gazette.com / By John Hayes / January 25, 2013 12:14 am
An act of pro-gun solidarity has led to the indefinite postponement of an expo of outdoors products that is billed as the largest in North America.
Two weeks ago, organizers of the Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show in Harrisburg — a massive exhibition of some 1,200 dealers of all types of outdoors gear, clothing, cooking supplies and vacation packages — abruptly announced it would forbid the sale and display of military-style semi-automatic rifles at the event. The ban triggered a revolt among the show’s gun exhibitors that grew to a boycott by vendors and sponsors, including hundreds of companies, many of which do not sell guns.
On Thursday, Reed Exhibitions USA, a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest event organizers based in England, said it had postponed “for now” the nine-day show, which was scheduled to open Feb. 2 at the Harrisburg Farm Show Complex.
“Our original decision not to include certain products … this year was made in order to preserve the event’s historical focus on the hunting and fishing traditions enjoyed by American families,” Chet Burchett, Reed Exhibitions USA president, said in a prepared statement. “In the current climate, we felt that the presence of [military-style rifles] would distract from the theme of hunting and fishing, disrupting the broader experience of our guests.”
Reed’s decision was made a month after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting and during intense legislative debate about gun control.