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Pa. outdoors show, focus of boycott, is postponed

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A large Pennsylvania outdoors show was postponed indefinitely Thursday after its organizers’ ban on assault weapons triggered a backlash and a growing vendor boycott.

Reed Exhibitions posted a notice on the website of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show that said an ‘‘emotionally charged atmosphere’’ had been created that would make it impossible to hold an event ‘‘designed to provide family enjoyment.’’

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Reed had decided to ban the sale and display of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines after the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The nine-day show had been scheduled to start Feb. 2 at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. Reed’s statement said the show was being postponed ‘‘for now’’ but did not elaborate, and a Reed spokeswoman declined an interview request or to provide details beyond that posting.

‘‘Our original decision not to include certain products in the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show this year was made in order to preserve the event’s historical focus on the hunting and fishing traditions enjoyed by American families,’’ Chet Burchett, Reed Exhibitions’ regional president, said in a statement.

He said that the presence of ‘‘modern sporting rifles’’ would have distracted from the show’s focus on hunting and fishing, ‘‘a product decision . . . of the type event organizers need to make every day.’’

The ban would have affected a small percentage of the show’s 1,000 exhibits.

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