Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Pennsylvania gun owners threatened to boycott the state's largest hunting and fishing expo Tuesday after organizers announced that they would ban the display and sale of assault rifles at this year's show. Reed Exhibitions, a British-based company that runs the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg each February, notified vendors of the change in policy over the last several days, a company representative confirmed to The Inquirer.
The presence of so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines might have served as "a distraction" from other aspects of the event in the wake of the recent school shootings in Newtown, Conn., and the ensuing national debate about gun policy, said Ed Several, a senior vice president for the company's North American operations. "Given the current climate with those products right now, we thought, 'Let's take a break for a year,' " Several said. "There's so much more to the show."
The decision came two months after the company announced that this year's expo would feature several tactical-firearms vendors for the first time. By late Tuesday, a news release on the show's website was replaced with a statement explaining the organizer's change of heart.
As news leaked out earlier in the day, it angered gun-rights advocates. "I'm outraged that the show would just roll over when it comes to the Second Amendment," read a comment on the show's Facebook page. "We will probably be seeking a refund." Another comment: "Sellouts! Say goodbye to my family and money." Many called for a boycott. Since the announcement, from three to five exhibitors of the 1,200 scheduled for the expo have dropped out, Several said. Other vendors have urged the company to reconsider its ban.
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