Will Gun Grabs Be Obama’s Waterloo?

By Lee Bellinger / November 12, 2013
Grassroots Movement Stops Anti-Gun Company in PA… without Firing a Single Shot
In an amazing turn of events, just days after Obama’s re-inauguration, Americans are realizing that big government power seekers and Second Amendment bashers are out to steal one of our most precious Constitutional rights forever. And the public reaction to this latest escalation of federal intrusion into our basic freedoms is not going so well for the perps in power. Public reaction against this rampant gun grabbing falls far short of a full-scale Constitutional revival, but it may be a starting point. Take the abrupt cancellation of the most popular national gun show, the 58th Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show (ESOS) in central Pennsylvania. It collapsed due to a vendor boycott over the banning of popular AR rifles from the show – the walkout was led by the NRA and 171 other major display vendors. In the gun and sporting world, the cancellation of this long-standing national event is the equivalent of nixing the Super Bowl! The economic impact of the cancellation of this show on the blighted Harrisburg area (the city itself is bankrupt and pleading for a state bailout) is estimated to be in excess of $44 million.
Have Gun Grabbers Awakened a Sleeping Giant?
Let me give you a bit more background to convey the full impact of this event. Every February, Harrisburg hosts the 9-day Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show – one of the largest gun and outdoor shows in the country. This year more than 1,400 hunting, fishing, and outdoor sports vendors were scheduled to promote their offerings from February 2-10. That is, until Reed Exhibitions – the British-based promoter of the show – arbitrarily decided on January 15 to ban vendors from offering tactical modern sporting rifles (such as the AR-15 and AK-47) at the show. These guns have been disparaged as “assault rifles” by Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein, and others who detest your Second Amendment rights. Reed Exhibitions claimed that this decision would “only” affect about five vendors at the show, and said they didn’t think it would be a big deal. But that opinion quickly blew up in their company officials’ faces, as a number of vendors and exhibitors saw this as another assault on their rights. Dozens of vendors decided to drop out of the show and reject Reed’s anti-gun agenda; a Facebook page was quickly created to support this decision.

Is Kowtowing to Gun Grabbers

Becoming Politically Risky?

One comment on the page seemed to speak for all vendors in favor of the boycott: “It doesn’t matter if only one exhibitor was going to bring AR-type rifles, it’s the principle of the thing… He is catering to the far-left agenda and throwing us gun owners/sportsmen under the bus. Well, let’s throw him under the bus and not support someone that won’t support us.” This “shot heard around the sporting world” spread like wildfire via social media. The National Rifle Association, Olympic air rifle gold medalist Jamie Gray, and dozens more groups joined the boycott. National sports and outdoor retailer Cabela’s joined in, and the boycott’s momentum grew quickly and powerfully. By January 24, three-hundred vendors announced they would not be a part of this year’s show. Rather than host a party where no one was going to show up, Reed Exhibitions threw up the white flag and announced on its website that it would “postpone” this year’s Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show indefinitely. Odds of the show being rescheduled, especially by Reed Exhibitions, appear dim. Reed wasted no time pointing fingers at those who stood up for the Second Amendment, blaming their own customers for creating an “emotionally charged atmosphere”: “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.”
Keep Up the Pressure on Gun Grabbers!
The above statement shows that Reed is in denial; their PR is designed to “spin” the real facts and justify Reed’s decision. In reality, it’s a great victory for champions of the Second Amendment, and proof that individuals and businesses who work together and stand on principle can make a difference. The effects of this boycott are even greater and go beyond just the Harrisburg area. It could affect Reed Exhibitions’ bank account in at least another gun show around the country. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms trade association based in Newtown, Conn., issued a statement after the show was postponed: “In the days following Reed Exhibitions’ announcement that modern sporting rifles would be prohibited from the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, the leadership of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has been in intense, frank discussions with Reed Exhibitions management in an effort to reverse this unacceptable decision. These discussions reached an impasse. NSSF is in no way affiliated with, nor does it participate in or exhibit at this show in any way. The NSSF also owns the annual SHOT Show that Reed managed in January in Las Vegas. Because of its policy at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, the NSSF said it is “considering all options regarding the management of future SHOT Shows.” Plus… the effects of this decision extend to city and county governments around the country. Gun and outdoors shows are among the most profitable trade shows in America today. According to David DuBois, President and CEO of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, attendance at gun shows has increased 15-30% in recent years. According to the Hersey/Harrisburg Regional Visitors Center, the Eastern Outdoors Show was expected to bring an estimated $44 million in direct spending to the region.
Gun Shows Have Broad Public and Community Support
A sizable number of gun shows are held in publicly-owned venues. The ESOS has long been held in the state-owned Farm Show Arena. In today’s sluggish economy, cash-strapped governments are desperate for every source of revenue they can get their hands on. Firearms is one of the few thriving industries in the United States, and every show brings a much-needed economic boom of anywhere from thousands to tens of millions of dollars to a town, city, or state. Even the most liberal states, cities, or counties will be hard-pressed to turn down these infusions of cash to stand by their anti-gun politics. Dallas and Austin, Texas recently considered banning gun shows at their city-owned convention centers, but these anti-gun efforts were dropped. This strong and sudden show of economic power will make government officials and gun show promoters think twice about making similar decisions to the one Reed Exhibitions made in Harrisburg. While you won’t hear this reported much (if at all) in the mainstream media, it’s worth saying again: This is a victory for pro-Second Amendment forces around the country! In less than two weeks, this non-violent grassroots effort that started in Pennsylvania harnessed the power of the marketplace – and stopped anti-gun forces in their tracks. This provides a bright beacon of hope that our Constitutional rights can be preserved without violence or civil unrest. The country’s political direction has definitely gone far left. But one benefit of that shocking development is the rise of self awareness among the half of the country that disagrees with loony liberalism run amok.