Here’s what the fuss was about

They just don’t get it. Reed Exhibitions, that is. They simply don’t have the faintest clue about the American hunter and gun owner and what the Second Amendment to the Constitution means to them. Not the faintest.

Perhaps it’s because Reed is based in the United Kingdom, where private ownership of firearms is, well, almost nonexistent. While it is apparent that Reed thinks it understands the 200,000 or so folks who attend the nation’s largest outdoor show each winter, the people whose job it is to plan and manage the show would be well advised to go back to school.

“The Outdoors Show,” as it is simply known, was to have begun on Saturday. As you probably know if you care about such things, the show has been “postponed indefinitely” thanks to boycotts by hundreds of exhibitors including Cabela’s, Mifflin County’s own FOXPROHigh Performance Game Calls and Moon Shine Attitude Attire of Beavertown.

Why did all those vendors withdraw? The organizers had decided at the last minute to ban the display or sale of “modern sporting rifles” – what the national media and antigun groups like to call “assault rifles” – “… in order to preserve the event’s historical focus on the hunting and fishing traditions enjoyed by American families…”

Reed said the presence of “modern sporting rifles” would have detracted from the show’s focus on hunting and fishing. Say what? “MSRs” are the hottest selling guns in America today – by law-abiding citizens, that is – and are used for hunting in greater numbers each year. They are not “assault” weapons any more than anything that can be used in the wrong hands to assault another human being.

The “MSR” is a semi-automatic rifle, which means rounds are loaded in the chamber one at a time. One pull of the trigger equals one shot, the same as with many shotguns and handguns that are also legal and have been regulated by federal statutes for many, many years. With a fully-automatic version, just hold the trigger back and empty a 30-round magazine in the blink of a eye. Yes, the “MSR” may look a bit like the rifles carried by our nation’s military and police, but that’s where the similarity ends. We wonder how many people who mislabel them “assault rifles” even understand that.

Here’s something else that many, especially the folks at Reed Exhibiting, are off-track on: We do not believe for a moment that any of the uproar about Reed’s “no MSR” rule had to do with money. As Reed pointed out, only “a small percentage” of the show’s vendors planned to show or sell these guns.

The fact that so many people backed out of the show makes one thing clear: They were angry about the assault on our Second Amendment rights, not the small number of these guns that would not be sold. Millions of Americans take these freedoms very seriously, and will fight to keep them alive. It’s about honoring and protecting those freedoms, not selling weapons. That’s what Reed, and a great many others, just don’t get.

The nation is in the midst of what promises to be a ferocious battle over the Second Amendment, and especially the ownership of certain types of firearms. To be sure, there are many in this nation who would like to see the private ownership of firearms end. But there are even more, we believe, who cherish the Second Amendment freedoms.