As he announced Executive orders in the gun control debate, the President suggested further legislation will be hindered by those trying to build ratings, or create profitability, or gin up hysteria over the loss of Second Amendment rights. For Cabela's, the Sydney, Nebraska outdoor retailer, the choice is to lose money rather than give in to the emotional reaction in the political atmosphere over gun rights. They joined nearly 200 other sponsors, including the NRA, and chose to boycott one of the biggest outdoor shows in North America.
February 2-10, Harrisburg, Pa. holds the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show. In the past, Cabela's has been a sponsor and made its presence felt throughout the show. This year, the show's organizer, Reed Exhibitions, said it is going to drop assault-type weapons and accessories. The announcement was made a week after the President's gun-control measures were announced. Reed said it "strongly" supports the second amendment, but "this year we have made the decision not to include certain products that in the current climate may attract negative attention that would distract from the strong focus on hunting and fishing at this family-oriented event and possibly disrupt the broader positive experience of our guests."
Cabela's response, posted on its Facebook page, was "Due to recent changes made by Reed Exhibitions regarding the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, Cabela's will no longer sponsor this year's event. After careful consideration regarding Cabela's business practices, and the feelings of our customers, Cabela's will, unfortunately, not have a presence at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show."
Two entities clearly standing on principles in providing an event which focuses on outdoor activity and family values. One is reacting to the emotionally charged events in Newtown, CT and the challenges issued by the President. The other stepping away from an important event, from marketing, from customer contact, to demonstrate that giving lip service to the second amendment as you try to eliminate presenters' products is inconsistent.
The event is more than marketing. It is educational. This is an opportunity to learn about guns in an informed manner. Their website announces that a "Concealed Carry Permit Class" is available at the show, so they are not against guns; but define their purpose as "we welcome exhibitors who wish to showcase products and firearms that serve the traditional needs of the sport." In other words, as the President did, they accept the notion there are legitimate uses for guns, which he defined as hunting and collecting; but beyond this there is no hesitation to limiting ownership or suggest anything else is tied into mental health concerns.
In the end, this is the President's usual method of operation. Health care is not about providing care, but creating an unworkable structure to the health insurance industry, at rates most employers wont endure, so insurance companies gradually withdraw from the market. This creates the need for government health care, which is the President's goal. The energy policy is about regulating and taxing fossil fuels and coal until they cannot sustain business and green energy is given an unfair advantage over its competitors.
The executive orders and legislation are not about taking away second amendment rights, but creating bureaucracy, requiring universal registration for all gun sales and a database for tracking owners. It is suspecting gun owners, and cross-referencing them through the CDC for mental health issues. In the end, it's about creating new opportunities for trial lawyers to begin civil suits and class action lawsuits against manufacturers of guns, bullets, and accessories, to make it unsustainable to build and supply guns due to liability costs. You don't have to take the rights away, if you create a hostile market that makes them impossible to own and maintain. If you doubt this reasoning, ask a smoker, or someone who eats transfats, or someone who wants a 20 oz soda in New York City, or a former SUV owner. We are gradually being divided by our choices and by behavior the administration defines as unacceptable.
That's the sad part of the changes in the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, and the loss of sponsors like Cabela's. They seem to have the right intent, to focus on positives and not create more controversy; but by compromising to the hysteria from gun control advocates, they help to push us further in the direction of losing our guns, whether from new laws or toward more litigation. The solution is not to hide or deny what may be difficult for some people to accept, but put it on display, have dialogue and education, and assure accurate information is available. Involving the largest organizations (NRA) and retailers (Cabela's) seems to be necessary resources in getting the best and most accurate information out, too.