Events organizer Reed Exhibitions announced today that they will be postponing the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show until further notice. The show caused controversy when Reed Exhibitions made a decision to prohibit modern sporting rifles from the event, prompting a large number of vendors to withdraw in the resulting backlash. Notable brands that said they would no longer be attending include Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Mossberg, Cabela’s, and the National Rifle Association.

In a press release, Smith & Wesson CEO James Bedney said, “We support the Second Amendment and the rights of our law-abiding customers to purchase (sporting rifles) and all legal firearms. Therefore, we are unable to support any organization or event that prohibits legal firearms, or otherwise restricts a citizen’s lawful and constitutional rights.”

The NRA quickly followed suit in their statement, announcing that the gun-rights organization will not be attending any Reed Exhibitions shows that maintains this policy.

Shortly after the postponement was announced, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) released a statement explaining that the NSSF had been engaging in dialogue with Reed Exhibitions in an attempt to change the show’s stance on modern sporting rifles, but the talks have failed. Reed Exhibitions also manages the yearly Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show), the biggest event of this category worldwide. SHOT Show policy and direction is headed by the NSSF, who is currently considering options for the management of future events.

The following is the postponement announcement on Eastern Sports and Outdoor Shows’ official website:

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.”

Those seeking an alternative East Coast outdoor show may want to consider attending the NRA Great American Hunting & Outdoor Show, which begins Friday, January 25 at the E-ventplex at the Frederick Fair Grounds in Frederick, Maryland.

Image courtesy NRAblog

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  • Vipertrucker

    Reed fumbled on the 2 yard line with their wrong-headed decision to prohibit defensive rifles at the show. They stupidly felt that, like many other ill-informed left wing anti-freedom gun-grabbers, that the Second Amendment is about hunting. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Second Amendment’s intent was that the citizenry would possess the same means (equivalent weapons) as the government (military) so as to resist the same type of government tyranny we fled in England. Not much of a surprize that UK-based Reed Exhibitions had a less than supportive view of the Constitutional right to self defense.

    Worst of all, the economic loss to the Harrisburg region is going to be considerable. Estimates already project food and lodging revenue losses in the $30-40 million range, with total show losses approaching $100 million. How’s that left-wing anti-freedom position working out for you now, Reed???

  • Citizen of the USA

    Reed Exhibitions is a UK company, they are not even American. What is the surprise? For me the surprise is that our sporting industry would source to a foreign firm, and not just any foreign firm, but one located in the country that our right to bear arms was won in the revolutionary war against. I have traveled to the UK, Europe, Asia and South America for business hundreds of times, most Americans are not aware that the English still refer to the USA as the ‘Colonies’. These small countries consider themselves the peers of the USA even though they barely represent one of our states. We fought a war to be independent from European thinking. If some folks like that thinking, I am sure Europe has a place for them. No where else in the world have such freedoms been offerred to responsible citizens. That is why more emmigrate to the US than all other countries combined. As the Muslim extremists begin to implement Shariah law, with beheadings, torture and confinement for smoking cigarettes, we will need the ability to continue what our fore-fathers saw as the most significant potential threat – disarming the American citizens so they can not defend themselves agains an enemy foreign or domestic.

    “Firearms stand next in importance to the constitution itself. They are the
    American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … from the hour
    the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurences and tendencies prove
    that to ensure peace security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally
    indispensable … the very atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil
    interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”
    George
    Washington
    First President of the United States

    The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the
    people; that … it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; …

    Thomas Jefferson
    letter to Justice John Cartwright, June 5, 1824.
    ME 16:45.

    “They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve
    neither liberty nor safety.”
    Ben Franklin
    American Statesman

  • Tom Reichner

    To Reed Exhibitions:

    ANYBODY who wants to own a gun should be able to own any kind of gun(s) they want. Why do you seem to have a problem with this? You people can stay in your screwed up UK, where the government has far too much control over it’s citizenry . . . and the citizenry actually seems to like it that way – unbelievable!

    Safety is nowhere near as important as freedom. If, to be more safe, people must sacrifice some of their freedoms, then safety simply isn’t worth it. May Personal Freedom reign! It is more important for individuals to be free than it is for society, as a whole, to be safe.

  • Good work to the boycotters. Hopefully Reed will now go belly up. Good riddance.

  • Hedgehog

    Easy, folks. Read their statement and don’t jump to conclusions. If it’s a hunting and fishing show, then assault rifles and pistols are incongruent with their focus. Doesn’t necessarily mean they’re anti-gun. They might be, but this alone isn’t enough information to make that deduction. The gun-control debate needs to be logical and unemotional on both sides, without knee-jerk reactions. You guys jumping to lambast Reed without sufficient information is no different than the liberal freaks jumping to ban guns. Please, gentlemen, be reasonable and rational; that will advance our cause far more than slinging heated and irrelevant rhetoric right back at them.

    • 2ThinkN_Do2

      All we need to come to a conclusion is an answer to one simple question: Did they have sporting rifles at this show in previous years? If Yes, I think we understand completely correctly as to the reason for dropping them out. What they’ve come to realize is this, they lose more business dropping the sporting guns than if they were to keep them in the show. But, it is a Free Country (still) and if they want to exercise their rights, so be it. The companies that withdrew exercised their rights as well.

    • Jay Bree

      “Let’s be reasonable all all get along” is the attitude that gets the 2nd Amendment nullified. Thanks for helping that.

  • Scott_Maine

    I am in full agreement with those that pulled out. Although this is a hunting/fishing based show they have allowed firearm-only related vendors to attend in years past. Almost all guns can be traced back to a military heritage. AR’s are used for hunting and in many cases are less lethal than a hunting rifle. Bad call for Reed, unfortunate circumstance for the rest of us.
    Anyone know of any show as large as this one coming up that is hunting related? Will travel anywhere in the US for a big show.

    • Scott, you will find that for which you search in the center of our nation; the Tulsa, OK Wanenmacher show takes place twice a year, I believe in April and October. It is HUGE and is best seen over a two day period. It covers a complete array of weaponry, modern and antique, military style, home defense, hunting and sporting. It also includes survival gear and miscellaneous items of genereal interest. I think you would be well served to consider it. Search it out and make it a consideration for your next spring vacation. 😉

    • Eric Thomas

      I agree …

  • kate

    Good!

  • Tomah

    ESS is lying through their teeth ; ” 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. ”

    If that is such a small percent of their show then why postpone ? Maybe because in reality 1000 exhibits was 99% of the whole hunting and fishing aspect of the show?

    Progressive Liberals are not only despicable liars they are also on the low end of the IQ scale .

  • Jay Bree

    REED===FAIL

  • Jay Bree

    ” If it’s a hunting and fishing show, then assault rifles and pistols are incongruent with their focus.”

    Nonsense. Apparently you’re unaware of AR’s as being the most popular shooting platform in the US these days.. You’re as bad as the Demos.

  • Their decision had NOTHING to do with Sporting Rifles not being part of their focus. (Heck, nobody uses swords for hunting, but they have swords at the show). They did it because of the controversy surrounding the rifles, and they were afraid of backlash among gun-grabbers. I’m proud of ALL the vendors and individuals, especially those whose industry or main sport interest is non-firearm-related, for standing up.

  • And hey…semi-automatic rifles are the issue now. Scoped hunting…I mean, “sniper” rifles…will be next. And compound bows. And recurve bows…and then….well, what then?