The economic impact of next year's Great American Outdoor Show, that will be run by the National Rifle Association, will not be hurt without gun sales, said Dave Black, president and CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC.
“It was no surprise,” Black said. “They talked about it beforehand as part of their policy and we don’t see it having an economic impact on the show.”
The chamber was part of the committee that selected the NRA to be the next promoter.
It wouldn’t be much different from business-to-business shows the chamber runs or car shows that are held at the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, he said.
In most of those cases, there aren’t a lot of transactions that take place on the floor. Instead, people get to see a full display of what’s available and then go buy them later. That will happen at the outdoor show, too, which will not hurt business for local gun shops, he said.
The cancellation of the 2013 Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show cost the midstate economy an estimated $88 million. Black said any shortcoming by not having gun sales would be made up by the NRA’s work to expand the show and attract more people.
The notice about not having gun sales was contained in a press release from last Friday that talked about how the NRA -- America’s largest and most influential gun rights, safety, training, and advocacy group -- would expand the outdoor show in Harrisburg next February. The policy is consistent with what the NRA does for other events, such as its annual meeting and exhibits to take place next week, the release said.
The NRA was selected last week to run the popular outdoor show, as well as expand it into a national happening. This year’s show was canceled after a vendor boycott when the promoter banned the display of semi-automatic guns sometimes called “modern sporting rifles” or “assault weapons.”
The NRA release says it is planning nightly country music concerts, fundraising banquets, seminars and speaking events from national personalities.