I just got off the phone with a friend in Las Vegas who said local news reported this morning that SHOT Show might be cancelled. I have been unable to confirm this in any way, and it might’ve been conjecture on the part of reporters in the first place. However, the real news is that gun shows in the area have been cancelled left and right with the list growing every day.
Whether or not SHOT Show should be cancelled is certainly a topic that would generate very heated debate. There is no question that the event will be in the news for the world’s largest “gun show” being held where the country’s largest mass shooting in modern history recently took place. That’s certainly not enough of a reason for many of the exhibitors and attendees to cancel the event. Security is the real issue that might get SHOT Show 2018 canned, however.
Protests will likely take place, and if you’ve ever been to SHOT Show, you’d know there is no way to separate the protesters from the attendees. 65,000 people converge on the Sands Expo Center every morning from all over the strip via dozens of entrances to the complex. You can’t wall protestors out of all of Las Vegas- if they’re there, they’ll have plenty of ways to impede and harass SHOT Show attendees.
This also means security will be burdened with keeping non-attendees out like never before. In the past, just wearing your badge around your neck was all that was needed to walk onto the floor with no checkpoints or bag screenings or anything of the sort. You just walked through a big doorway with a dozen others dressed just like you wearing the same badge holder as you, and one or two security guards just stood there and watched you do it. No individual screening was needed to keep the few SHOT Show crashers out.
Though attendees agree to have their bags searched at any time anywhere in the facility, I’ve never seen it happen in person. The only reason I’ve ever heard it done was to crack down on attendees who don’t pay for a booth but travel the aisles with product samples in search of dealers and distributors- that’s a big no no and gets people thrown out every year. That will probably need to change.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (SHOT Show’s organizers), major exhibitors, and the Sands Expo Center are certainly all working to determine how to keep the attendees and even the actual exhibits themselves free from harm. Bad actors will certainly try to disrupt the event with little imagination needed to think about how far someone might be willing to go.
In short, providing individual security screening for 65,000 people every morning, nearly all of whom dragging rollies or carrying backpacks filled with gun parts, is unimaginable. Not screening people before entering the event is also unimaginable. All those involved with making SHOT Show happen are certainly buying Tums by the case right now regardless of what they might have or have not decided to do for January’s event.
Updates will certainly be posted at http://shotshow.org/ when they become official.