The locals in Dauphin County, Pa., are not particularly thrilled about a change in gun show policy that is delivering a major hit to the economy. The Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show was canceled because of backlash following the announcement that organizer Reed Exhibitions banned the sale of certain guns. After all, what is the purpose of a gun show that does not sell guns?
“We estimate that we had an $80 million hit to our economy," said Jeff Haste, the Dauphin County Commissioner. "It’s like our stock market crashed that day.”
The National Rifle Association has stepped up to the plate to fill the gap left by Reed Exhibitions and renamed the show the Great American Outdoor Show. The NRA’s policy will still allow consumers to buy guns, though they will have to jump through a few extra hoops.
Instead of buying a gun and taking it home immediately, shoppers will have to purchase a gun, take it to a local dealer and then work through the normal channels for buying a firearm in Pennsylvania.
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“I think this show is going to be like nothing we have ever seen before," Haste said. "They [NRA] have great contacts throughout the nation. So, not only are we going to see a show at that building for that week, they are going to have two or three concerts that week, two on site, and one offsite, they are going to have dinners with celebrities, they’re going to have events with celebrities.”
With the NRA running the show, the withdrawal of Reed Exhibitions might be a blessing in disguise for gun owners.
Joe Staudt, a local gun store owner, said the restrictive rule gives local business an edge. He believes that shoppers will be more likely to purchase from local distributors rather than out-of-state distributors because shoppers will have to deal with local distributors anyway. That means that money will tend to stay in the local economy rather than going to out-of-state vendors.
There has been all of this fuss about the gun show loophole. If this gun show is any indication, then closing the loophole might not be all that bad.