The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 10, 2013

Ken Maurer's Outdoors column: Case of the 'no-show'

HARRISBURG — The recent decision by Reed Exhibitions to ban certain firearms from the Harrisburg Sportsmen’s Show, and the resulting collapse of the show had to be quite a surprise to the outdoors industry. It is surprising and somewhat perplexing that Reed’s, an entity that previously had no problem with any firearms, would suddenly turn on the Harrisburg show.

Their press release stated that they wanted  “to preserve the event’s historical focus on the hunting and fishing traditions enjoyed by American families.”

That’s interesting, since I doubt that lawn mowers and power tools are part of the “historical focus,” but they were not banned. I know, they were talking about the so-called assault rifles. Later in the release they used the phrase “in the current climate,” meaning in the wake of the Connecticut shootings.

There is a disinformation debacle going on. The shooting in Newtown, Conn. was done with handguns. Curious isn’t it, that there is a shooting with handguns and all of a sudden we have to do something about “assault rifles?”

The Harrisburg show was vital to many small businesses. Curiously enough, many of the earliest vendors to say no to Reed’s ban were in the archery industry. One archery vendor that I met with this past week is Jim Rebuck of J & M Traditions. He has been doing the show for 22 straight years.

“We rely on the show for 40 percent of our business,” Rebuck said, “it would be a big hit for any small business.”

When word first began circulating about Reed’s decision, Rebuck had a lot of soul searching to do, but he felt he had no choice but to join the boycott.

“Boycotting the show was the biggest stand for the second amendment that I have ever seen,” said Rebuck.

For Rebuck and others in his position, it was a big hit. You see, it’s not just about the so-called assault rifles, it’s about taking a stand. I doubt if guys like Jim Rebuck and I will ever own an “assault rifle.” But I think I can say that we both believe that the government and entities like Reed’s should not tell us what kind of firearm I can and can not own.

There are gun owners and hunters who say who needs an assault rifle anyway? I used to think that way. The problem is that you can bet there will be a lot of unintelligible small print on any more gun control legislation. And what are we going to do when some idiot shoots people with a pump shotgun or a bolt-action rifle?

Perhaps our government should focus on the fact that it is going down the drain financially. The whole useless gun control argument does nothing more than take the nation’s mind off the fact that our government is in a financial free-fall, and land is coming up fast.

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