Just like the National Rifle Association meetings, firearms at the Great American Outdoor Show will be on display but not for sale. The show in Harrisburg will take the place of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show which was cancelled this year.
The NRA says it’s introducing many new features to the show. The goal is to attract a national audience in Harrisburg. But as the new sponsors of the show, they’ve made another change that’s promoting negative opinions from local gun shops who rely on the show to make a living.
Staudt’s Gun Shop is one of few mom and pop gun shops in Harrisburg.
Owner Joe Staudt says, “We have a lot of people who are competitive shooters, recreational shooters, a lot of hunters.”
Staudt says his business of two years may no longer be taking a shot at next year’s Great American Outdoor Show.
He says, “For me to go there and display some guns when they can go right over the Smith and Wesson, or Colt counter and see every gun they make, there’s really no advantage for us to go to take guns for display purposes.”
In addition to including major manufacturers at the Farm Show Complex, Staudt says his shop could lose 30% of its annual earnings by not being able to sell firearms.
Staudt says, “If we can’t sell there, and we’re only going to be marketing or just handing out cards and telling people about us we have to look at the rate of return, if it will be worth while or not.”
The shop is a million dollar business that includes gunsmithing. So the decision to attend the show is still up in the air.
Staudt says, “I was looking forward to having that broader market for us to get exposure this year. And we’re not sure if we’ll particiapte or not.”
The NRA says they’re comfortable with their decisions.
Dauphin County Commissioner, Jeff Haste says, “”It is the NRA’s policy, not something they just drafted up. It’s their policy they don’t sell guns at their show.”
Haste says the NRA’s interest is making sure the event is an outdoor show with more to offer than only guns.