The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 16, 2013

Assault weapons bannned at Pa. expo; some threaten boycott

HARRISBURG — Some gun enthusiasts are threatening to boycott what’s billed as the state’s largest outdoor-sports show to protest a ban on the display and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Event organizer Reed Exhibitions imposed the ban on the military-style semi-automatic weapons at the Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show in Harrisburg out of concern they might distract from other aspects of the show in light of last month’s deadly Connecticut elementary school shooting and the ongoing gun control debate in Washington, a spokesman told The Philadelphia Inquirer for a story published Wednesday.

“We thought, ‘Let’s take a break for a year,’ ” said Ed Several, a senior vice president for the British company’s North American operations. “There’s so much more to the show.”

A statement posted on the show’s website cited a desire to exclude “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.”

But word of the action drew numerous calls for a boycott from gun enthusiasts on the show’s Facebook page and accusations Reed wasn’t standing up for their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The nine-day show is scheduled to open Feb. 2 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex on the outskirts of the state capital.

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