BLOOMSBURG — Dozens of vendors that usually set up at the Sportsman’s Show in Harrisburg are now banding together in boycott. The show in central Pennsylvania, slated for the first week in February, is not allowing the sale of any assault weapons or high-capacity magazines.
“That comes as a shock. That’s all part of the outdoors show and I think that’s going to hurt them a little bit,” said Early Bird Sports Expo Owner Jonathan Broadt.
In Bloomsburg, Betty and Jonathan Broadt are getting ready for their own event: The Early Bird Sports Expo that kicks off on Thursday. They say many of their show’s regulars have been calling to make sure they won’t find a similar ban in Columbia County. The show’s producer says she couldn’t disagree more with the ban on assault weapons at the Harrisburg Sportsman’s Show.
“Well I think it’s a poor choice only for the fact that it’s an outdoor sportsman show. Outdoor sports shows support anything to do with hunting, and that involves guns, all kinds of guns,” said Early Bird Sports Expo Producer Betty Broadt.
The owner of RJ’s Marine Sales in Wilkes-Barre will be a vendor at the Early Bird Sports Expo in Bloomsburg and has traveled to the Harrisburg show in past years as well. The seasoned salesman says he supports the decision to allow all firearms into the Bloomsburg Expo.
“Everybody should have a right to decide what kind of firearms they want to carry, what kind of firearms they want to buy,” said RJ Marine Sales Owner Robert Makaravage.
With more than 40 vendors, including Cabela’s, backing out of the Harrisburg show, there’s a lot of pressure for all vendors to join in the boycott, but many others say they can’t give up the business they’ll get.
With or without a full hall of exhibitors, the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in the State Capitol is slated to kick off February 2.
“It’s really your choice of what you believe in and what you don’t believe in and that’s one thing great about this country is we still have our opinions,” said Makaravage.