NRA will run the former Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show

Written by Tim Lambert, WITF Multimedia News Director | Apr 16, 2013 1:08 PM

(Harrisburg) -- The National Rifle Association has been selected to run the annual sports and outdoor show in Harrisburg in February 2014.

NRA President David Keene made the announcement at the witf Public Media Center this afternoon that the event will be renamed the Great American Outdoor Show.

"The NRA's deep-rooted heritage in the outdoor lifestyle makes this partnership a perfect fit," he says. "We look forward to expanding this event by inviting national firearm manufacturers to join more than 1,000 hunting, fishing and camping related vendors as well as outfitters from around the world."

The NRA will replace Reed Exhibitions and the Eastern Sports Outdoor Show, which was postponed this year due to an exhibitor boycott.

In the wake of the Newtown shootings in Connecticut, Reed banned so-called "military-style semi-automatic" rifles from being sold at the show.  The move sparked a backlash from firearms dealers and more than 200 decided to boycott the event. Reed was later forced to postpone it.

Dauphin County Commissioner Jeff Haste says the cancellation cost the region's economy more than $80 million.

The NRA, which has been at the center of the gun control debate, was selected after a national search and 17 applications were submitted. 

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