They say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Unfortunately for the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show, I don’t think that’s the case for the news generated by their ban on modern rifles. All of the regional headlines about the show just a couple of weeks out are now about the volume of exhibitors who are pulling out of the show and leaving empty booth space behind. That is decidedly bad when it comes to convincing consumers that they should hand over $14 a day to browse empty tables.
- After vendors pull out, gun owners question attending the outdoor show – ABC 27
- Cabela’s pulls out of Harrisburg outdoors show over gun flap – The Patriot-News, The Mercury, The Tribune-Democrat, The Reporter, Public Opinion, Morning Call
- Third Lancaster County business withdraws from Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show over gun flap – Intelligencer Journal
- Celebrities join boycott of outdoor show – Intelligencer Journal, York Daily-Record
- Cabela’s drops out of Harrisburg gun show, cites assault weapons ban – York Daily Record
- Lancaster County exhibitor pulls out Harrisburg gun show, cites assault weapons ban – York Daily Record
- Another Lancaster County exhibitor backs out of popular outdoor show over assault-rifle ban – Intelligencer Journal, York Daily Record
- Assault weapons ban at Harrisburg expo irks enthusiasts – Pocono Record
- Expo organizerâ€™s ban on assault weapons irks some – Daily Local News
- Cabela’s pulls sponsorship from Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show – CBS 21
- Assault weapons sale ban at large PA gun show draws fire – Philadelphia Inquirer
- Cabela’s becomes latest vendor to bow out of outdoor show – ABC 27
- Lengthy list of exhibitors boycotting Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show in Harrisburg, Pa. – The Post-Standard
- Boycott over gun sale ban grows against Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show – The Patriot-News
- Trent Cole jilts Pa. expo over ‘sporting rifle’ ban – Philadelphia Inquirer
- Vendors pull out of show when assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition banned – Herald-Mail
- Celebrity hunters pulling out of Harrisburg gun show – Pocono Record
- Number of exhibitors withdrawing from Outdoor Show continues to climb – CBS 21
- Sportsman Show Boycott – WNEP
Those are just the headlines on the stories about vendors pulling out or sportsmen who refuse to attend. That doesn’t include the initial reporting on the ban. Give it more time, and I suspect that we’ll not only see more vendors withdrawing from the show, but also more stories that effectively squash any energy and excitement that the ESOS might have drummed up with area consumers.
Of course, boycotts are good for some businesses, too. I’ve been following the boycott reports very closely, and it’s really amazing how many businesses are climbing aboard the boycott and claiming they are “pulling out” of the show – except they never had exhibition space to begin with. It’s awfully easy to say you’ll no longer attend an event you weren’t actually planning to attend. A few others have made their proud stand, but they just happen to own businesses and only planned to attend as consumers, not exhibitors. But, hey, they are being public with their support for our rights, so I won’t give them too hard of a time.
And to keep up the energy of supporting the Second Amendment, one retailer that withdrew is now holding a drawing largely for those who support other vendors that withdrew from the ESOS over their ban on modern rifles & accessories.
For what it’s worth, everyone on the list I’ve made up has been independently confirmed that they were on the list of vendors. That doesn’t mean that the list is perfect, but it’s reasonably verified.