Sports show canceled after gun owners protest restrictions on gun displays

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.”

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • slackwarerobert

    Instead of declaring a simple semi automatic as not a hunting rifle. Why not work to allow us to hunt with them? Then they will BE hunting rifles. It is the government that refuses to allow you to hunt with them, bambi could care less. The deer knows that it makes no difference what shot them, they go down.

    • PK

      Actually, in North Dakota, you can hunt with any semi-automatic rifle or pistol. There are caliber restrictions, nothing under .22 center-fire and nothing .50 caliber or over, unless it’s a muzzle-loader. .35 caliber is the smallest pistol cartridge you can use. There is no restriction on magazine capacity as well, so one could hunt with a 100 round drum if they wanted to. Why did they cancel if it just “directly affected a small percentage of more than 1,000 exhibits.”? I imagine they were trying to downplay the blowback by all the other exhibits, that may not have had MSRs, but refused to attend because of that policy. Well done.