Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show Cancelled. Changes Coming to SHOT Show.

The Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, a very important industry exhibition opened to the general public, has been cancelled.  Earlier this month the exhibition organizer Reed Exhibitions decided to ban any modern sporting (ie. semi-automatic) rifles from being on put on display.  Over 100 exhibitors, including many of the largest exhibitors, pulled out of the show. Today Reed canceled the show blaming the cancelation on the companies who pulled out, ignoring the fact that companies attend the show to exhibit firearms and accessories that consumers demand, and consumers demand semi-automatic rifles. Apparently semi-automatic rifles are not family friendly, but pistols and bolt-action rifles are. The press release from Reed says …

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.”

This cancellation is really going to hurt the smaller companies who spend a lot of money putting together booths for exhibitions like this. No doubt to the dismay of East Coast gun nuts, this will likely be the end of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show as we know it. If the show happens next year, I don’t think there will be any guns on display.

Reed Exhibitions are the company contracted by the NSSF to manage SHOT Show. This NSSF is very unhappy about Reed’s recent actions. The NSSF said in a press release …

We have just learned that Reed Exhibitions has decided to postpone the 2013 Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show.

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. Reed Exhibitions does, however, manage the NSSF-owned SHOT Show (though Reed manages the SHOT Show, all SHOT Show decisions, policies and actions are made at NSSF’s direction).

Because of Reed’s recent actions, NSSF is considering all options regarding the management of future SHOT Shows.

I can’t see the NSSF ever working with Reed again.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • df

    With exhibitors cancellingin droves there would be nothing to see.

  • Drebin

    Good. We don’t need anti Constitution assholes running anything in America.

  • Michael

    What a pathetic and deceptive press release from Reed. As if they “chose” to cancel and weren’t financially obligated to because of so many sponsors pulling out.

    Preserve the hunting and fishing exhibits? Give me a break.

    “This was intended simply as a product decision, of the type event organizers need to make every day.” Riiiiiight….

    Just like the mythical “hunting and sporting” clause in the 2nd Amendment, those clowns are acting like the entire show has always been primarily about hunting and fishing.

  • Dump Reed!

    • Alaskanmarksman

      and Reid.

  • The Other Dave

    Reed clearly isn’t smart for an even larger reasons. Firearms evolve slowly but in today’s world, semiautomatic magazine-fed rifles are the norm. They are practical, accurate and the technology is well developed. They are also expected by the customer base. Even if the vendors hadn’t pulled out, the lack of modern sporting rifles would have deprived a large portion of customers of a reason for going. If I travelled and paid to go to an event and didn’t or wouldn’t see 30-60% of the products I was interested in (dependent on the individual), why would I want to return or even go?

    Part of me wishes that vendors hadn’t really backed out, just only brought their most basic products and announced it in advance so that Reed would have seen the effects of lost revenue for snubbing the market they serve.

    • Guest

      The long term consequences of Reed’s pullback is an indication of how out of touch these businesses are. They think they are being politically correct, and that hurt their bottom line to the point where the show had to be cancelled. Sometimes, it pays to be politically INcorrect – a lesson I think they are learning now!

  • steveday72

    Great news – It’s time to put Reed Exhibitions, Cheaper-Than-Dirt and other “fairweather friends” out of business.

    • It’s about a company who wants to be politically correct but that’s as far as it goes for us. It’s a relavent news story which concerns all gun owners. I tend to look at it as a guns story.

      • Bill

        Well, it was a little insulting to get a “Reminder” on facebook about that “Firearms not Politics” mantra. A story like this is clearly political in nature considering the current climate in The States. I do like how this blog definitely puts firearms first; but as stated, right now politics go hand in hand with the firearms culture for the country that enjoys and consumes the biggest share of firearms.

        • Laserbait

          There was no politics mentioned in here, that I saw.

    • shazbot

      Yes, yes he should.

  • Reed Exhibitions is a subsidiary of a UK firm that falls all over itself concerning ‘sustainability’, ‘giving back’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘diversity’. Civil rights in the countries they operate? Not so much.
    I sense a large business opportunity emerging for someone.

    • Joe

      ‘sustainability’, ‘giving back’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘diversity’

      The horror!!! Truly they are evil incarnate….

  • People do not attend these types of shows to fondle fishing poles and caress spinners – they can do that at Cabela or Dickless Sporting Goods right down the road…give me a break!

  • -V-

    Awesome! Now, I think it may be time to also look for a new partner for SHOT show. If they think the 2A is about hunting and fishing only, then there’s no reason we should be dealing with them.

  • shazbot

    Whoa, this article is dangerously close to being political. Better get back to writing ads for gun corps and praying for shwag.

    • shazbot a lot of news stories are close to the line these days. Close to the line maybe in some peoples views. I tend to look at it as hurting smaller companies as well as our sport and hobby.

      Oh yes and we all got press releases on thumb drives if that counts as schwag.

      • shazbot

        Why are you so committed to being part of the problem? You have an audience and that audience needs to be informed about the political activities underway in America that will prevent all of us from owning the very firearms you advertise/review/covet/fawn over.

        How shitty would you feel if the new AWB passes and you did nothing, even though you have a large audience and the means to communicate with them easily?

        Why are you so committed to a tagline adopted in this site’s infancy, when our current political climate precludes the concept of avoiding politics un the discussiin of firearms?

        • gunslinger

          Because Phil doesn’t make political statements here doesn’t mean he isn’t contacting his .gov reps, or on other forums. Steve started this blog, and correct me if i am wrong, to get away from the politics of guns and focus on the industry the same as any other hobbies. to keep this as a “hey here’s what the gun companies are making/producing/researching” and honestly, i LOVE it. all the latest news from the companies, and none of the BS that accompanies political statements. if you want that, go spend some time on GD at ARR.com. Or XDtalk? 1911 forums? glock…HK…etc?

          and honestly, if anybody with 1 brain cell thinks phill, steve, or any guest writer for this blog wants any AWB/gun control to pass, you are sadly mistaken. i’m betting a majority of readers already are doing their part to address the political issue. so having TFB mention it is redundant.

          Shazbot, you know this is futile. TFB isn’t about politics. so if you are so concerned about protecting the 2A, why not spend your time and energy elsewhere? we all agree the sky is blue.

          lets move along

  • Commercial lawyer

    This is an excellent result. Reed is a for-profit company. This sends a message to all for-profit companies that they cannot play politics and ignore a large part of their customer base without financial consequences. Unfortunately 2nd amendment supporters are unlikely to be a substantial chunk of the Groupon customer base, but there’s no doubt that Reed’s loss will be discussed at a future Groupon management meeting. Corporate America has been put on notice.

    • In spite of the ramifications for the smaller companies I am glad to see the industry stand together.

    • Jeff

      I wouldn’t be so sure about the Groupon issue. The customer base is Americans and alot of Americans own firearms. The reason groupon claimed (to me in an email) why the stopped offering the firearm related deals was that customers asked them not to…..I don’t believe that at all.

    • I disagree this was an excellent result – first and foremost, an industry trade show favorable to the firearms industry and the gun-owning community was effectively shut down, meaning lost marketing and sales opportunities for manufacturers and consumers alike. Secondly, by this show falling apart over the issue of allowing or not allowing “modern sporting rifles” it helps reinforce the idea anti-gun forces are pushing that AR-style rifles and other military-styled firearms are somehow more dangerous and therefore more in need of regulation or banning than other types of firearms – it is part of a larger “divide and conquer” strategy to get the public as a whole to believe that some types of firearms are not worthy of 2nd Amendment protection. Thirdly, this story will now get spun by the anti-gun groups, who will use Reed as an example to try and prove that even pro-gun events like the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show didn’t want to allow what they define as “assault weapons” at their show, so obviously even pro-gun groups like the NSSF agree an AR-15 style rifle doesn’t have a legitimate sporting purpose. There are likely other ramifications as well, but none of them that are an excellent result for the gun owners and gun manufacturers.

      • Commercial lawyer

        How can we say that the show is favourable to the firearms industry/gun-owners when they were the ones that placed a ban on ARs in the first place? The best we can say for them is that they are opportunistic – happy to accept ARs when there are no political issues, but quick to ban them when doing so lets them curry favour with the PC crowd.

        Yes, I agree that there is a divide and conquer strategy in place. But I’d say this result shows that the strategy is not working. Over 100 companies rallied together and forced Reed to realise that political correctness can backfire (and most importantly, is not necessarily profitable). Any other company thinking of instituting such a ban will now be much more hesitant.

        I also agree that there are ramifications for manufacturers and small companies. It’s up to us to put our dollars to work and support them, not the opportunists like Reed.

      • I disagree emphatically. The vast majority of vendors who dropped out of ESOS were NOT even affected by Reed’s ban but did so to make a statement…this was the very epitome of unity across the outdoor sports community and while it may have negative repercussions in the short term, having a company like Reed expose their agenda so that they can be ostracized from our community is worth it in the long run.

        One of the largest exhibitors to pull out was Towne Marine whose main showroom is about 1/4 mile from my house, they were not affected in the least by Reed’s prohibitions but were not going to stand by and support Reed as those who sell modern sporting rifles and accessories were thrown under the bus.

        As for your statement about NSSF not supporting that the AR-15 has any legitimate sporting purpose, I suppose you weren’t in the Pallazo Ballroom for the State of the Industry dinner at SHOT on the 15th or you wouldn’t speak such foolishness.

        Here’s what Steve Sanetti had to say…including remarks about the media frenzy over the Newtown, CT shootings which affected almost everyone at the NSSF Headquarters located there.

  • Walter E. Kurtz

    Sayonara Reed….and good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.


  • VA gunowner.

    I would hope that at least some of the exhibitors would sue Reed, et.al. to at least get back what they spent for advance set up for the show and loss of sales.
    Punitive damages would be a plus.

  • The long term effect of Reed’s pullback is an indication of how out of touch these businesses are. They think they are being politically correct, and that hurt their bottom line to the point where the show had to be cancelled. Sometimes, it pays to be politically INcorrect – a lesson I think they are learning now!

  • Solve this by telling reed. ” your fired”

  • Jeff Powell

    Reed is so full of crap. They are pitting the sportsman against target shooters to try and get out of their very bad decision. I am glad all that major retailers pulled out to send a message but am upset the little guys could not get their booths displayed. Reed should have just given in to the pressure to include modern sporting rifles.

  • Nadnerbus

    Even Smith and Wesson has finally learned that the gun industry absolutely has to stand together, or they will be divided and conquered. So far, no Bill Rugers saving their own bacon at the expense of others in the industry.

  • gunslinger

    i thought the show was for sporting and outdoors? and the EBR is also known as the “modern sporting rifle” so why ban a rifle that is used for sporting purposes when…hello… the title of the show is a sports show?

    i feel bad for the smaller companies who may be losing out (i saw a report that said the area would lose about $44mil due to the cancellation of this show. no source for that fact)

  • iowan

    The initial estimates are that the region will suffer a loss of $44 million. That should send a message to politicians too. Probably won’t though. There are lists of the vendors who pulled out, they need our support more than ever.

  • Don’t forget that Reed could have been pressured by external forces to make their decision to not allow the display of “modern sporting rifles” at the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show – if you look at similar actions like the mayor of Chicago (and Obama’s former Chief of Staff) sending letters to banks that do business with manufacturers of “modern sporting rifles” like Smith & Wesson and Ruger, asking them to stop doing business with gun companies if they don’t support a new assault weapons ban (http://politi.co/TvHpfn), there is a lot of pressure being applied to lay the groundwork for banning “modern sporting rifles” and for trying to convince the public that the only purpose of “modern sporting rifles” is to commit violent crimes.

    • Biff Sarin

      It’s like the freaking D.C. Mafia. With major operations in Chicago, New York and California.

      • It is a concerted effort to target any modern sporting rifles that resemble military weapons – even if only cosmetically – and convince the public that the only purpose for these types of firearms is to commit violent crimes with them, such as the recent high profile mass shootings. Then the argument will be made that the only people who would oppose a ban on these types of rifles and the high-capacity magazines they can accept are people that want them so they can do evil things with them. Once this perception is created, then additional “peer pressure” will be applied against gun owners and manufacturers to support banning “assault weapons” – and if they are successful at getting the public to agree that some guns and gun accessories are too dangerous, they will make the argument that all guns are too dangerous for private ownership.

  • Pure Crap press release.

  • Sian

    Lot of rumor here. Basicallý a dealer wqnted to sell several thousand msr’s markes up hundreds over retail. This show is like SHOT, exhibition, and well, things went downhill from there.

  • Biff Sarin

    I know it would be a gargantuan task, but I wish another exhibition company could step forward and throw together a surrogate show for the exhibitors and attendees to go to instead. Keep the show going but cut Reed out of the equation.

  • Aharon

    250 years later the arrogant English still patronize and underestimate Americans.

  • 511

    I’m not surprised considering that Reed Exhibitions is 100% BRITISH owned, that they would be anti-2nd Amendment and wouldn’t understand our gun culture, it serves them right that most of the industry pulled out of the event including tons of companies that don’t even sell firearms related things. For example a local company in my area making Fishing accessories pulled out of the event in protest before it was canceled.

  • I dunno, my family enjoys the types of things they wanted nothing to do with. Good riddance to them, another exhibitor group can put the show on.

  • I might strongly suggest telling the Reed group to piss off. In fact, anyone that uses their services in any function should do the same. While you may have the right to say what you will, the customer reserves the right to no longer do business with you.

  • Alecdouglashome

    Interesting. Check out the wikipedia page on Reed Elsevier. I clearly remember the controversy back in 2007 when some of their own staff accused them of having a conflict in being a publisher of medical journals and organising ‘defence’ exhibitions. My memory of it is that all this came to a head when Reed organised an exhibition in London at which cluster bombs were for sale. As indicated in the Wikipedia article it became such a sh*tstorm that Reed/Elsevier promised not to be involved in defence in future. So what the heck are they doing getting involved in this? You are either in the defence business or out of it, saying that ‘shooting and fishing’ is a different thing smells of poop to me.

    Incidentally folks… I’m not British, but Reed is NOT a British company. It’s dual listed on London and Amsterdam. They are a major corporation with >30k employees worldwide. They are also subject to a call for a boycott for their policies relating to pricing for access to scientific literature (i.e. they publish an awful lot of the world’s scientific literature and charge top dollar to access it).

  • Sid44

    weeell.. ****
    then again reed is owned by uk company right?
    and uk doesnt like guns.
    also this was a tad political, but relevent to gun enthusiests.

  • I sincerely believe that NSSF should dump Reed Exhibitions.

  • Reagan

    So much butthurt. THIS is the free market at work, gentlemen. A corporation can decide what it wants to focus on and market, or not. Don’t like it? Move to Cuba, pinkos!!

  • Alpha Roger

    More cancellations in the future with the ban.

  • Isn’t Reeds English ?

  • nature223

    dump reed, they are a UK company and dont have the slightest clue how we Americans work…
    NSSF can do way better, and not use these playing politics reptiles ever again.