Some big names in the hunting media and vending have stood up to the organizers of the Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show. Following the tragic shooting in December at Sandy Hook School in Connecticut, and President Obama’s sweeping executive orders on gun violence, many states and organizations have themselves pushed for changes in certain gun and ammunition restrictions. Reed Exhibitions, organizers of the show in Pennsylvania, followed suit and imposed restrictions on the display of assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines.
From their web site:
“The Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show is a unique celebration of the authentic hunting and fishing traditions that are cherished by millions of Americans and their families. We are proud to celebrate these pastimes by featuring 1,200 exhibitors offering a diverse range of products from outfitters to fishing boats and RVs, from archery to art and from clothes to cabins.
“As a hunting-focused event, we welcome exhibitors who wish to showcase products and firearms that serve the traditional needs of the sport. Clearly, we strongly support the 2nd Amendment. However, this year we have made the decision not to include certain products that in the current climate may attract negative attention that would distract from the strong focus on hunting and fishing at this family-oriented event and possibly disrupt the broader positive experience of our guests.
“ESS is proud to participate in the preservation and promotion of the rich hunting and fishing tradition passed from generation to generation by American families.”
The show, billed as the largest on the east coast, runs from February 2-10. The effect this weekend was swift as big names in the industry made their opinions known on social media outlets. One of the major sponsors, Cabela’s, completely pulled out of the event.
From the Cabela’s Facebook page:
“Due to recent changes made by Reed Exhibitions regarding the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, Cabela’s will no longer sponsor this year’s event. After careful consideration regarding Cabela’s business practices, and the feelings of our customers, Cabela’s will, unfortunately, not have a presence at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show.”
Michael Waddell, popular host of Michael Waddell’s Bone Collector on The Outdoor Channel had the following to say on his Facebook page:
“Me nor any of the BC team will be at the Eastern Sports Show in PA this year.”
And in a follow-up post,
“Deeply concerned about our 2nd amendment rights. One brick at time government can tear down the walls we built to make America great.”
The Major League Bowhunter team, made up of former MLB standouts Matt Duff, Jeff Danker and future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones also declared their stance by bowing out of the show.
“Due to the recent changes in policies made by the “Reed Exhibition Center” in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania “Major League Bowhunter” has withdrawn from the Eastern Outdoor Show. We know there will be some disappointed people who were planning on attending the show to come by & see us but we trust that you will respect and understand our decision and make plans to come see us somewhere in the future! Thanks to all of you that have shown such amazing support for our decision!”
More advocates of 2nd Amendment gun rights in the hunting industry appear to be backing out of the outdoor show as well. As the line in the sand splits many United States citizens, the future looks to be very interesting as the two sides stand up for what they believe in.
Marty Cannon is a freelance writer from South Louisiana. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is strongly in favor of his 2nd Amendment rights.