Industry News: June 2013
By Robert M. Hausman

Reed Exhibitions Decision Results in Industry Walkout

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 for 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 Modern Sporting Rifles 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.”

Reed was notified by numerous firearms manufacturing companies of their decisions to cancel their attendance at the event. Additionally, due to Reed’s refusal to reconsider their decision to ban Modern Sporting Rifles from the February 2-10 Eastern Sports Show in Harrisburg, PA, the National Rifle Association also decided to withdraw from the show.

Apparently Reed, a European headquartered company, knows nothing about firearms, as it states that the presence of AR rifles “would not be conducive to an event that is designed to provide family enjoyment or hunting.” It seems that Reed believes an AR platform rifle is not used for hunting or recreational target shooting or plinking but is rather only some deranged murderer’s tool and family enjoyment is derived from viewing fish hooks and the like – even if that fish hook has a sharp point.

NSSF Statement

NSSF posted the following statement on its website: “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.”

DHS Seeks Select-Fire AR Rifles as Obama Moves to Ban Semi-Auto Civilian Ownership

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has put out a solicitation for 7,000 5.56x45mm selective-fire Personal Defense Weapons - the semi-auto version of which are mislabeled “assault weapons” by the government when owned by civilians.

The solicitation, issued last June, lists the rifles as “suitable for personal defense in close quarters and/or when maximum concealment is required. Additionally, DHS is asking for matching full capacity 30-round magazines – the kind of magazines the government calls “high capacity” when in the hands of civilians.

Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I-Patterson (NY)) Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee said, “Now the Department of Homeland Security even agrees that these Modern Sporting Firearms, made illegal by New York’s Governor Cuomo (who wants to be president), are suitable for self defense. On top of that, a recent story reports that two RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) students in Rochester, NY who were legal gun owners were protected by an AR-15. The story may have had a very tragic ending, had Governor Cuomo’s anti-self defense bill been in full effect. If the story is accurate, their legal ownership of this modern sporting rifle evidently saved their lives. While Cuomo says ‘it doesn’t take 10 bullets to kill a deer,’ it evidently only took an unloaded AR-15 to protect a household. Luckily these criminals struck before New York Governor Cuomo’s gun grab was fully unleashed.”

ATF Issues Letter on “Universal Background Checks”

In apparent deference to the anti’s push for background checks on all gun sales, the Bureau of ATF has issued a mid-January letter on the subject to all FFL-holders.

The letter encourages FFLs to facilitate firearms sales between private individuals through FFL businesses. Such transfers are subject to the same rules and regulations as other firearm sales conducted by FFLs, including compliance with state and local law. The procedures are thus:
  • Upon receipt of a firearm, FFLs are required to record the acquisition of the firearm in their required records;
  • Prior to conducting the transfer of a firearm to an unlicensed person, the purchaser and the FFL must complete ATF Form 4473, and the FFL must contact NICS and receive a proceed response (or wait until three days have passed), which must be recorded on the ATF Form 4473; and
  • The FFL must record the disposition of the firearm in his/her required records, and follow all other regulations with respect to the disposition of the firearm or firearms.

ATF Guns Frequently Lost, Stolen

ATF has weapons stolen or loses them more frequently than one might think, according to a 2008 report from the Office of the Inspector General with the Dept of Justice.

In a five-year span from 2002-'07, for example, 76 ATF weapons were stolen, lost or missing, according to the report. That's nearly double the number compared with the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, when considering rates per 1,000 agents.

The latest loss involved an embarrassingly mismanaged sting operation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when an ATF agent’s SUV was broken into and two pistols and an H&K MP5 submachine gun were stolen. The two pistols have since been recovered but the MP5 submachine gun has vanished.

The author publishes two of the small arms industry’s most widely read trade newsletters. The International Firearms Trade covers the world firearms scene, and The New Firearms Business covers the domestic market. He may be reached at: FirearmsB@aol.com.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V17N2 (June 2013)
and was posted online on April 26, 2013


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