I told you over the weekend about the trouble Reed Exhibitions was having with its Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show, scheduled to take place February 2-10 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In response to the Sandy Hook shootings, Reed decided that exhibitors would not be allowed to display assault weapons -- a decision that, as of Sunday, had led to angry denunciations by likely attendees and the withdrawal of a principal sponsor.
As it turns out, a total of 307 vendors pulled out of the show. Ruger pulled out. The NRA pulled out. And now Reed has issued this statement:
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 gunners do not compromise. The gunners do not engage in give-and-take. The gunners laugh at your silly public opinion and your pitiful grieving families.
"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...."
The National Shooting Sports Federation also weighed in. It says it "has been in intense, frank discussions with Reed Exhibitions management in an effort to reverse this unacceptable decision." Why?
NSSF is in no way affiliated with, nor does it participate in or exhibit at this show in any way. Reed Exhibitions does, however, manage the NSSF-owned SHOT Show....The annual SHOT Show is "the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries." This year's edition took place last week in Vegas, with attendance of more than 60,000 people. The NRA had three booths; Bushmaster had two. Ted Nugent denounced the president at the SHOT Show. It's a really big deal in this world.
Because of Reed's recent actions, NSSF is considering all options regarding the management of future SHOT Shows.
But if you mess with the gunners -- if you dared to consider the broader public's disgust with the gun culture and still expect to work with them -- well, the gunners will have "intense, frank discussions" with you, and will find themselves "considering all options" regarding whether you will ever do a dime's worth of business with them again.
So ... you still think Wal-Mart might express support for White House efforts to change the gun laws?