NSSF Sticks by Expo Company’s Decision to Ban “Modern Sporting Rifles”

My head is spinning. I am so thoroughly confused by NSSF’s statement that actually calls on gun owners to stand up for the Eastern Sport & Outdoor Show and attend. Seriously?

I must fisk this just see if I understand this correctly because this honestly blows my mind.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation strongly disagrees with the decision of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show’s management to disallow the display and sale of Modern Sporting Rifles at its 2013 exhibition. In our discussions with Reed Exhibitions, we have made this very clear.

Okay, this sounds all good and well. So where the hell do we go from “strongly disagree” to “go and give them money” which is in the last paragraph?

While assuring us that all legally available firearms will be welcome at future Eastern Sports and Outdoor Shows,

I guess the ESOS that is planned for this upcoming February is somehow in the past. How can “all legally available firearms” be “welcome at future [shows]” when they are, in fact, banned at the upcoming show?

…it was explained that this unfortunate decision was made in response to the planned actions of a single retailer that would have drawn significant unwelcomed media coverage at a time when firearms ownership is being assailed in the media.

So let me get this straight. One exhibitor planned to behave in a manner to bring negative media to the Eastern Sport & Outdoor Show. In response to the bad behavior of one retailer, they decided to ban all modern sporting rifles. Funny, that’s exactly how gun control groups think. One person used a gun in an irresponsible or illegal manner, therefore all of us must have our guns banned. This just legitimizes the entire “logic” behind gun control efforts. The logical response for ESOS was to ban that retailer. Crazy concept there. You punish the people who are doing wrong, not the people who use and sell their firearms and accessories perfectly lawfully and responsibly.

I would also argue that if NSSF’s defense of ESOS (below) is based on the notion that banning an entire class of modern firearms is the best solution to bad press, then they have been willfully ignoring the headlines that have come out from ESOS’s actions. The papers all over the region have been promoting their decision to ban these “powerful” weapons from a show for average sportsmen. In fact, one paper actually quotes the Reed staff as saying that their concern over having these guns is with the consumers who might attend. It’s us that the company doesn’t trust, and that is the story playing out in the media.

It is important to note that this year’s show will continue to feature a wide variety of firearms.

It just won’t feature “all legally available firearms” that NSSF promised in the first part of the statement.

However, it would be unfair to penalize the 1,200 exhibitors or the some 200,000 sportsmen and women who will attend the show by discouraging participation at a time when the hunting and shooting sports community needs to be united in the face of political challenges.

Now, I really like the folks at NSSF on a personal level. They are good people. But, I would really, really appreciate an explanation on just how telling sportsmen about ESOS ban on firearms is a manner of “penaliz[ing]” people who planned to go. Do we consider informed consumer decisions to be punishment nowadays?

And don’t even get me started on the blatant hypocrisy of their advice here. NSSF is begging consumers not to punish the vendors who are showcasing their products at ESOS by a blanket boycott of the show. Yet, they want those consumers to hand their hard-earned money over to the management of ESOS ($14/person per day), a company that is enforcing a blanket ban on modern sporting rifles because of the actions of a single retailer. There’s so much logic fail there that I don’t know where to begin.

We urge industry exhibitors and attendees to participate in the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show as planned and encourage attendees to visit the Reed Exhibitions booth at the show to share their concerns and to then enjoy the show.

I will say this for NRA’s statement on the situation. They told members who are concerned to contact Reed Exhibitions directly. That way, if a consumer decides to sit out of the show over this ban, they aren’t out a dime. However, NSSF asks you to pay $14 and then go complain to a company that is, so far, refusing to contact any customers whatsoever, including those who have requested refunds for pre-purchased tickets (and won’t even answer emails from vendors). Let’s just say that in the interest of your wallet, it’s better to follow NRA’s advice.

I totally get why NSSF would want to stick with the exhibition company because they have managed to successfully put on SHOT for years now. I understand what a nightmare position it puts them in. But to actually encourage gun owners to give more money to their consumer show that is actively banning the firearms we use recreationally and for defense?

It boggles the mind that they are asking people to financially support a company that believes in punishing ALL vendors for the misbehavior of one. They have the authority to ban a vendor from their show if one plans to misbehave. That is the appropriate response, not a ban on an entire class of firearms.

I like the guys at NSSF, but the last two paragraphs of this statement calling on gun owners to actively support the company banning modern sporting rifles are just absurd. If they wanted to get word out that ESOS’s parent company had a motivation of fear of bad press, then they could have published this entire statement without the plea for money at the end.

43 thoughts on “NSSF Sticks by Expo Company’s Decision to Ban “Modern Sporting Rifles””

  1. What was the supposed, not yet actually happening awful behavior of the “one” retailer that REED could not stand for? Why will they pre-emptively throw every one else under the bus?

    >>>>> In response to the bad behavior of one retailer, they decided to ban all modern sporting rifles.

  2. “It is important to note that this year’s show will continue to feature a wide variety of firearms.”

    That statement is a real stretch, it cuts out quite a bit, modern stuff in particular. It’s not like they’re banning all weapons with pink polka-dots.

  3. Sometimes I will ask someone rhetorically, “What is the goal of a widget company?” and they almost always answer, “To make widgets.”

    Wrong. The goal of a widget company is to make money.

    NSSF represents the shooting sports industry. The goal of the shooting sports industry is to make money. It is not to make firearms or ammunition. It is not to make freedom. It is not to influence public policy other than as that affects the shooting sports industry making money.

    Sincere question, because I don’t know: What was NSSF’s past positions on traitors in the industry, like Ruger and S&W? Did they say much that was judgmental?

    If NSSF were to take a position against anyone in the industry making money they would, by definition, be taking a position against the purpose of the industry. We can argue they are being short-sighted, but you can use it for a predictor of what they will do in any situation.

    1. Your comment is not the first time I have seen that line of thinking, but I actually don’t think you can use it as an accurate prediction tool. I remember when NSSF was promoting Mitt Romney attending SHOT in the primaries to 2008. I don’t feel like digging through the archives at the moment, but there was something about they way that they really came off as going above and beyond to promote him that struck me as odd. At the time, it was down to him & McCain. From a strictly industry viewpoint, they should have been wanting to promote McCain. Afterall, McCain’s big weakness in the issue was on his support for banning private sales. That policy would have at least driven more people into stocking dealers where they would be charged higher prices for background checks and would have been exposed to more new guns while waiting on their transaction for a used gun.

      So, while I agree with the fundamentals of what you’re saying, it also assumes perfectly rational actors at all times. Since NSSF is made up people, we know that won’t always be the case since no person can be perfectly rational.

      1. It could have come down to a “who do you distrust less in general” gut call; if you view it that way, I think it’s a debatable point. McCain’s incandescent fury (a family trait going back at least a couple of generations) at the Republican base and his anti-gun actions, including McCain-Leiberman which would have shut down gun shows, McCain-Feingold, which constrained the NSSF as well as the NRA etc. … all that vs. Romney’s deep down indifference to the issue, I can’t see it being an obvious call.

      2. I take your point about irrationality and predictors; odd for me to be giving people too much credit.

        I’m just thinking that among baser instincts, some things are more powerful than others, and avarice has proven to be considerably more powerful than say, the instinct to contribute to the gene pool; and in neither case is rationality much of a player. :-)

  4. I ‘was’ planning on attending, won’t now. My $$ will go to a local gun shop that DOES support all legal weapons.

  5. We hang together or we hang separately. No type of gun can be singled out without the realization that they are after all of our guns. We have to show solidarity or we’ll be down to rusty muskets that are missing parts, and they really would have us down to that, so that they could laugh at us.

  6. Oh come on! this is not third grade for God’s sake: Tell us who is the one vendor that they are so worried about. I am tired of having to always fight for real information on the Internet. Stop playing cat and mouse and just tell us what company are we even talking about.

  7. Argh. I’m continually shocked at the people who should know better not knowing the zeal with which this community knifes traitors. NSSF should know better.

  8. If you won’t say who it was, at least tell us what they are supposedly accused of planning on doing?

    1. Why are you writing this as though I have any idea who the hell the offending retailer is or what they planned? I reported what NSSF was told by Reed, the sponsors of ESOS.

  9. Oh, we were saying what we are saying because we thought you knew and that you were just not saying. Hope that makes sense. Anyway, if you genuinely don’t know then sorry about that. Carry on.

    1. I quoted NSSF:

      …it was explained that this unfortunate decision was made in response to the planned actions of a single retailer that would have drawn significant unwelcomed media coverage at a time when firearms ownership is being assailed in the media.

      That’s all the information I have. That is where my commentary on the supposed bad retailer comes from.

      If I knew who it was or what they were planning, then I would have no issue calling them out for stunts I consider stupid that could give gun owners a bad name.

  10. drawn significant unwelcomed media coverage at a time when firearms ownership is being assailed in the media.

    As opposed to what is going on now by their decision to ban a certain type of gun?

    Wow, the cognitive disconnect there is amazing.

  11. So the NSSF hasn’t been concerned enough to make the obvious threat? Reed is their VENDOR, not their owner. Reed runs SHOT because they are HIRED to run it. If Reed can make arbitrary changes to contracts so can NSSF. And I somehow think that there is at least one other company that isn’t run by gun banners that could put on SHOT.

    1. The SHOT Show is such a monstrous undertaking (12 miles of isles this year!!?!?!!!) … and I’m sure the NSSF already has a contract signed with them for the next one … I can see them not wanting to rock the boat right now, at least without thinking it all through, asking their lawyers what it would cost to break next year’s contact, and qualifying and signing a contract with another vendor before punting Reed.

      That said, as has been pointed out, they’ve been more than a little maladroit in their current public response. Even if it’s an example of “saying nice doggie while reaching for a stick” (what some say the art of diplomacy is :-).

      1. Yup, it’s an insane response. It should have been something like “We are not happy and are actively discussing this with Reed and our lawyers. In addition we are working to arrange that those vendors who now can’t exhibit their products will get fully reimbursed by Reed.” Then shove in some verbiage about attending anyhow. Don’t make actual threats you can’t/won’t follow through on, but also don’t pretend this is not a big deal and defend the interests of their members.

        1. Right, the appropriate response is:

          “We are disappointed and strongly disagree with Reed’s policy to ban any type of rifle from an event, regardless of the reason. We are looking into our agreements with Reed to ensure this cannot happen any our events, as well as discussing with them the severe negative consequences this can have on future events. Thank you for your support. “

    2. Thanks to Harold’s comment, it reminded me to respond to this one this morning. I agree with him on why NSSF shouldn’t be publicly screaming that they will dump Reed over this. Like Harold mentioned, they’ve probably got contracts going out for at least a year, if not several years. The nightmare of trying to scramble for an exhibition vendor for something the size of SHOT isn’t just a NSSF nightmare. It would be a nightmare for every single exhibitor there as someone new tries to work through the kinks of doing things differently. That is not a fight they should air publicly or that should be taken lightly.

      While I’m on this, I also want to throw out my opinion on another argument I have seen elsewhere that gun owners should protest every company listed as an exhibitor. First of all, this is kind of dumb since the Show is leaving up every vendor on their website, even those who clearly only make products that are now banned at the Show. While I absolutely support those that have decided to pull out of the Show over this, I don’t blame a company that chooses to attend this year. Why? Because booth space costs thousands of dollars. Many have plane tickets already purchased or materials already delivered that wouldn’t work anywhere else. Some can’t afford to take the outright loss on what they have already invested, and they may just be hoping that the sales of the people who don’t know about this ban are enough to keep them from losing money. I understand that.

      I know that there are lots of “low information” gun community folks who won’t have any clue as to what Reed has done, even if they would, in theory, support a boycott. Those people will still be there, and the businesses that attend will be hoping to tap into some of that. That’s also the reason that I support NRA still attending with a membership booth. They are going to try and bring some of those “low information” gun community folks into the fold so that more of them learn about problems like Reed’s ban. Basically, because this was sprung on people so suddenly, it’s tough for them to change course this late in the game. I applaud those who do, but I’m sympathetic to those who aren’t because they just can’t take the loss right now.

      I saw a comment by NUGUN that I thought was relevant. This year, the show will probably seem like not much happened. However, the real impact will likely come next year if fewer exhibitors sign up in the first place and more gun owners learn about Reed’s opposition to modern firearms.

      1. Thank you for writing about this. I disagree that the NRA should maintain their booth at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show and would prefer they appear at Cabela’s to reach those “low information” gun community folks. Solidarity speaks louder than hypocracy and they should lead by example. By attending the show and using existing membership dues for it, the NRA will be talking the talk to the low information folks, but they sure won’t be walking the walk! If I were one of those folks, my first question would be…”If you want my money to help protect the second ammendment, then why are you here?”

        1. If they’re sufficiently nasty, they’ll quietly* inform low information gun community people who haven’t heard about the ban of it, while trying to sign up any attendees who aren’t members.

          * Or maybe not so quietly. “NRA Banned from Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show” would help spread salt on what we expect to be the smoking ruins of this show.

          Hmmm, for that matter, isn’t this a job for a small group of dedicated protestors on public property near the entrance(s)? Numbers are not needed, just a few signs that let attendees know what’s up.

          1. Actually, it would be really funny if they printed up a sheet that shows just what NY effectively banned and handed that out. See if Reed has the balls to kick them out.

            1. Ah, that would be perfect. It’s not Evil Black Rifle limited, so that plus it’s purely educational would make kicking them out an act that firmly puts them on the side of the gun grabbers.

              Would increase the NSSF’s 2014 SHOT Show nightmare as well … if Reed gets toxic enough, it’s going to get messy.

              That local sportsman’s group could do this, i.e. don’t participate in the show in any form except for signing up members and this sort of educational thing. And Reed would be a lot more likely to kick them out of the show than the NRA….

  12. Well, I guess that frees up a Saturday for me. I won’t spend money on turncoats.

  13. Anyone have an email contact for the Eastern Sport and Outdoor Show? I can only find phone numbers on the website.

  14. Hmmm. Actually, this sounds like that since this is Geographically so close to the Heartland of the Current Gun-Banning Politicians and the MSM, NSSF is trying to say that “See? We aren’t Loony Gun Nuts! We even Self-Police! So please don’t do Bad Stories about us!”

    So should we send Black Umbrellas to the NSSF? They sure sound like they’re doing some Appeasing to me.

  15. I am surprised that Legal Heat is still intending to attend the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show and provide concealed classes, according to the show’s website. I reached out to them asking that they consider changing their venue.

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  17. The NSSF is in it up to their necks, I would only have my faith restored in the NSSF if the found another American Company to produce tbe Shot Show.

    Buy American and employ Americans and support Americans! This is not Great Britian and an American Shot show should be run and managed by American for Americans.

    The NSSF should be ashamed for not taking a affirimative position early on in this debate, rather than request the patrons to support the Eastern Sport Outdoor Show they should have disclosed their financial interst in the show and stood by the 2nd Amendment.

    1. The NSSF has no financial stake in the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show. They have never ever tried to hide that they previously employed Reed Exhibitions as a vendor to manage the SHOT Show.

      As for your attitude toward who they should hire, well, they have already said they will reconsider their business relationship with Reed as it stands. I’ll be honest and say that I won’t agree with you on the demand that it absolutely must be an American company because I’m a huge fan of free market principles. I would encourage NSSF to find an exhibition company that does the best job for the most reasonable price and won’t publicly throw the industry under the bus.

      1. If The NSSF employeed Reed to prompte, manage and run the Eastern Sport Outdoor Show in addition to the shot show it is absolutely absurd to say they had no financial intrest.
        The great majority of individuals who have attended or were planning on attending the 2013 show have no idea who Reed Exhibitions are or that they were hired by the NSSF.
        When the NSSF in their plea requested show patrons to attend and show their displeasure after paying to enter the show the NSSF became complicit in concert with Reed to further the show for monetary gain.

        I am only saying if one puts out a statement for folks to attend something that violates their core values, a statement of financial intrest would have been fair.

        Again if the NSSF employees Reed that is a relationship and according to above post by Bitter we are supposed to believe that the NSSF would not benifit one red cent by moving forward with the show and taking the money of unaware consumers.

        1. Are you not paying attention or just choosing to ignore facts? The NSSF has NOTHING to do with the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show. Nothing. Nada. Not a damn thing. The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show is run, owned, and managed 100% by Reed Exhibitions. Stop with your instinctive outrage and read the facts before getting upset.

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