Ruger & S&W Pull Support from Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show

This isn’t quite a Cabela’s level exit from the East Coast’s (previously) largest sportmen’s show since Cabela’s was an actual sponsor instead of just an exhibitor, but it is very close because of the major profile of the company.

Ruger addresses the concern that so many smaller vendors have about pulling out of this show. It’s not that they don’t support the Second Amendment, it’s that the can often see the difference between profit and loss for the entire year based on the sales at this single show.

One such company is GUTNTAG, a Pennsylvania company that I found mentioned in one of the many headline stories about regional exhibitors pulling out. Their statement says that they are really true believers in the Second Amendment even though they sell cooking seasonings:

We have made the costly decision to withdraw because it is the right thing to do. We are a young company that relies on this one venue to create our operating capital for the year; however we cannot support uninformed businesses caving to political pressures caused by broadly politicized events. We proudly support the 2nd Amendment in the capacity for which it was intended; the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. Our freedom to do so was not for hunting or competition shooting, but protection for law abiding citizens.

In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” Friends, if we continue to give in inch-by-inch, we will find ourselves with no protection and a tyrannical government.

With such a strong statement, we decided that we’ll show them some support and buy their seasonings.

I think some of the most interesting reactions have been from folks who are still baffled by NSSF’s request for consumers to continue to support the gun banning exhibition company. This is the take from celebrity hunter Lee Lakosky:

“I don’t know why the NSSF would promote this ban just to please one vendor out of twelve hundred,” he said. “Anyone who believes this isn’t a big deal is wrong. It is a big deal because this is where it starts. There’s a reason for the Second Amendment and we all need to band together and stand behind it.”

Jim Shepherd from The Outdoor Wire had this to say about the statement this morning:

Saying the “hunting and shooting sports community needs to be unified in the face of political challenges” while encouraging attendance at an event which has banned the nation’s most popular and best-selling rifle seems contradictory.

People on Twitter also shared my sentiments when I posted that my first reaction was “WTF?” Granted, The Outdoor Wire adds more to the context in terms of how NSSF may have been limited in how strongly they could condemn Reed Exhibitions, but I don’t think anyone would have complained if they simply cut the last two paragraphs from their statement – the two where they actively encouraged people to give Reed money, even as they ban modern semi-automatic rifles.

TOW notes that as big as many attendees believe that SHOT is for Reed (they manage it on behalf of NSSF), it’s a drop in the bucket compared to their other shows. Hell, even in this industry, the 60,000 people who attend SHOT don’t compare to the estimated 200,000 who attend the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show. And, unlike SHOT, Reed is directly making $14/head for every single one of those attendees, plus the exhibitor fees of many thousands of dollars.

At this point, ESOS is starting to recognize the backlash. They finally removed Cabela’s from their list of sponsors, and they have slowed their advertising promising certain celebrity speakers who has since publicly cancelled. I even saw one newspaper report that said the ESOS spokeswoman was starting to speak again – though she’s not really saying anything more than the original statement and confirming that they do have exhibitors backing out.

For those who still want to let the ESOS know how they feel about the subject – and let them know if they have lost your business as an attendee – here is a repeat listing of the contact information that they pulled down from the ESOS site right as the controversy erupted:

Group Vice President – Ed Several
Phone: 203-840-5932 Fax: 203-840-9932 Email:

Event Director – Chris O’Hara
Phone: 717-368-7487 Fax: 203-840-9868 Email:

Public Relations – Deb Davis
Phone: 717-834-6267 Fax: 717-834-6207 Email:

Marketing – Cathy Kitlasz
Phone: 203-840-5871 Fax: 203-840-9781 Email:

I contacted Ms. Davis on behalf of the blog, but she has refused to respond. Of course, we’re not alone. Many media outlets have reported that they are trying to contact her and other Reed spokesmen, but they all refuse to return any calls or emails.

UPDATE: And now minutes after I hit publish, Smith & Wesson announces that they are pulling out of the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show. Wow.

35 thoughts on “Ruger & S&W Pull Support from Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show”

  1. Yeah, if the NSSF is limited in what they can say, don’t support the company. Even a “We disagree with Reed, and we are discussing the situation with them.”

    But this backlash amazes even me. Its a level I would not have thought possible. I hope that this same level of commitment will be used toward fighting anti-gun laws.

    1. It looks like the NSSF is caught between a rock and a hard place on this one, so I can give ’em a pass when all their available decisions really suck.

      Ruger, S+W and Cabela’s pulling out is a big effin’ deal.

    2. Yes. I think it is a good thing we have an opportunity to express our ire in a tangible way, before these issues start to reach most state legislatures. But I also hope people don’t exhaust their emotional energies on things like these, rather than on legislators. I’ll enjoy seeing Reed’s shut down, but I’d also like to see a legislator or two shut down, decisively.

    3. It looks like the “hunting and shooting sports community” is unified in response. This is a sign that we’re more focused and cohesive than we were in the nineties.

    1. I disagree with that extreme response. If you read more about the situation they are in, you’ll likely see the issue with NSSF doing anything too damning. I’m only giving them a hard time for their statement that told consumers to go ahead and attend the ESOS. That is where their statement went off the rails for me. But the majority of the statement was actually spot on and gave us more information than we had from ESOS.

      1. I am talking more than ESOS. They are being timid in more than one place.

        I am always for measured response. Those who know me know I don’t like over-the-top rhetoric. But sitting on hands and watching the wind blow is not the right response right now.

        Nobody else thinks the NSSF ESOS response was a little too much?

  2. It’s not like there isn’t precedent. It’s not like they couldn’t have guessed what would happen. Gun owners are an unforgiving group and, considering how much we’re under attack right now, there’s an overall mentality of “if you’re not with us 100% then you’re against us”. In all honesty, I can’t blame anyone for feeling that way right now. If we give even an inch, it’ll turn into a mile before we know it.

    Any time any company or organization folds or goes against their customers’ beliefs they get squashed. Look at Recoil or CheaperThanDirt for a perfect example. It will be a long time before anyone in the firearms industry trusts CTD again.

    Given all that’s happened in recent years, I can’t for the life of me see how the people running that show would think that the ban was a good idea.

  3. Here’s a link to all the show’s Reed puts on every year (vast majority are overseas).

    (I was glad to find my current employers events not on the list).

    Interesting, in addition to Eastern Sports Show and Shot Show, which we know about, they also handle the following in the United States:

    PGA Expo
    PGA Merchandise Show
    UFC Fan Expo
    PAX Prime and PAX East (not sure what this is, sounds like its some sort of Gaming convention – hmm, wonder if their ban an ARs also applies to bans on violent video games)
    Global Gaming Expo (more violent video games)
    Book Expo America
    Vision One2One (some sort of Optometry event. My optomostrist is a shooter, and I hunt pheasants and the occaisional prairie dog with another optometrist who shoots an AR15. I’ve inquired to both of them for more details on this event)
    National Hardware Show (Do Home Depot and Lowes support our second amendment rights? They don’t sell guns, but around the country there are plenty of other hardware stores who also sell guns).
    Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show

    1. PAX Prime and PAX East (not sure what this is, sounds like its some sort of Gaming convention – hmm, wonder if their ban an ARs also applies to bans on violent video games)

      PAX is the Penny Arcade Expo, put on by these guys.

      BTW, this strip is one of the reasons that the NRA put a great big foot in their mouth when they tried to deflect blame onto video games. Gamers are a segment of the population that can be quite easily be recruited into the ranks of pro-gunners due to several factors, not least of which is that they come under attack in a similar manner as guns after every shooting. The (non)logic for blaming one or the other is almost identical. Instead, the NRA decided to piss them off, and now that strip is setting the tone of the opposition from gamers.

  4. Interesting. They are actually a subsidiary of Reed Elsevier. Which is a British publishing company that owns, noteworthy to me among other items Lexis Nexis (legal and media search service. I was considering switching my account from West law to Lexis and have been in negotiations with them. I am going to let the sales rep know of my decision tonight).

    Also, this is from the Reed Elsevier wikipedia page

    Defence exhibitions

    Members of the medical and scientific communities, which purchase and use many journals published by Reed Elsevier, agitated for the company to cut its links to the arms trade. Two UK academics, Dr. Tom Stafford of Sheffield University and Dr Nick Gill, launched petitions calling on Reed Elsevier to stop organising arms fairs.[21][22] A subsidiary, Spearhead, organised defence shows, including an event where it was reported that cluster bombs and extremely powerful riot control equipment were offered for sale.[23][24]
    In February 2007, Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal, published an editorial in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, arguing that Reed Elsevier’s involvement in both the arms trade and medical publishing constituted a conflict of interest.[25] He suggested that if academics began to disengage with Reed Elsevier, the company would be likely to end their arms fairs, as arms fairs only comprise a small proportion of their business.
    On 1 June 2007, Reed Elsevier announced that they would be exiting the Defence Exhibition business during the second half of 2007.[26]

    1. Also read this about the Elsevier publishing arm; they’re really loathed by the science community for the high prices of their often not so high quality science journals. I also watched at a distance the Journal of Logic Programming debacle (its in an area I’m interested in but have never really explored).

  5. I sent an email to all four of those addresses, no anger or yelling, just said that the only way they can salvage their reputation with gunnies is to publicly and noisily admit they screwed up, and to blast Obama, Bloomber, and Cuomo as gun grabbers. Better do it pretty quickly too.

    I doubt it will influence them much at all.

  6. I Just place an order for the seasoning as a token of my support for the company that had the guts to back out of this show.

    1. Same here; I wasn’t sure at first, but it’s pretty hard to go wrong with fish fry and hot sauces, and I was game, shall I say, to try their dry spices.

      They’re running a $2 off Second Amendment special through February if you buy all 5 of their offerings.

    1. And another useful quote from the same source: “Treachery must never be forgiven.”

  7. I ordered 2 hats from GUTNTAG, “just because”. Will return to their site and tell them why.

    1. When PayPal freezes their account for the sudden spike in activity I’m sure GUTNTAG will know why.

    1. Yup, already updated them on the main list. Ruger & S&W got their own post because they are such big names, and, well, there’s a bit of humor in their big announcements given their own histories with boycotts. :)

      That said, I need to add the big reveals today to the main list. I’m really only updating it once a day at this point and only pointing out the big names in individual posts that typically expand upon other topics. In the case, the added pile on to NSSF with their earlier statement.

  8. Seems odd we haven’t heard that Mossberg and American Tactical Imports haven’t pulled out yet. They both have MSR offerings, in fact ATI is mainly tactical offerings.

    1. Since the final negotiations failed yesterday, we shouldn’t be surprised if not everyone pulls the trigger today.

      We should be asking pointed questions of companies like these if they don’t Real Soon Now.

      1. For large companies, yes, I say be bulldogs after them. Partially because they are more likely to have the large booths that cost significantly more money. But, I think being polite & understanding is still the way to go with smaller vendors. Many don’t have the resources to afford to just lose the money outright.

  9. There it is again- that fake quote from Jefferson. why use a made-up quote when a real one serves just as well?
    “And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”

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