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Conn. group cuts ties with company over arms ban

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) -- A national gun rights lobbying group has severed ties with its trade show producer, citing the company's decision to ban assault weapon sales at an unrelated event.

The Newtown-based National Sports Shooting Foundation said the ban imposed by Reed Exhibitions at the hunting and fishing show is at odds with the group's mission.

Reed's Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show was originally scheduled for February in Harrisburg, Pa., but it was canceled following an outcry over the trade show producer's decision to ban the sale and display of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The NSSF said in a statement Thursday that Reed provided excellent service to the group for more than three decades, but the company's restrictions were "in conflict with NSSF's mission to serve the shooting sports industry."

"As a result, both organizations decided it was in the best interest of the SHOT Show to end their relationship," the group said, referring to its Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show.

Reed said previously that the ban, imposed weeks after the Dec. 14 massacre of 26 people at a Newtown elementary school, was made because of concerns that the "current climate" would distract from the emphasis on hunting and fishing "and possibly disrupt the broader positive experience of our guests."

A Reed spokeswoman said Friday that the Norwalk-based company had no comment.

The NSSF said it is looking for a new producer for its SHOT show, which is schedule to take place in January in Las Vegas.