Yielding to a surge in positive coronavirus cases across the United States, the National Shooting Sports Foundation announced today that it is cancelling the upcoming 2021 SHOT Show.
Each January, tens of thousands of people flock to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend what is perhaps the largest small arms, tactical gear and hunting show in the world. Hundreds of companies use SHOT Show to unveil new firearms, new knives, new body armor designs, new sighting optics -- new everything.
But the continued spread of COVID-19 presented too many challenges for the firearm industry trade association to hold the massive and mostly indoor event.
"Due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the world, NSSF ... today makes the difficult announcement that the 2021 SHOT Show has been cancelled," according to a news release.
There were 90,000 new cases of coronavirus infections reported in the U.S. on Thursday, nearly 10,000 more than the previous daily high of 80,662 cases on Wednesday, according to NBC News.
The NSSF had been working with Nevada officials throughout the year to hold the show since many areas of the country had begun to reopen businesses and allow larger gatherings, according to the release.
But the sheer size of SHOT Show -- an event that draws roughly 60,000 to operate in close quarters among tightly packed exhibits at the Sands Expo Center in Vegas -- makes social distancing extremely difficult.
"Given the sheer complexities, diminishing timeline and immense logistical planning required to conduct a trade show as large as SHOT, NSSF simply could not move forward at this point with so many unknowns and variables," the release states.
Despite the pandemic's grip on the nation, there was no decrease in the number of firearms manufacturers and other exhibitors that planned to attend SHOT Show which was scheduled for Jan. 19-22.
"With three months to go until the show, floor space for both the Sands Expo Center and our expansion to the new Caesars Forum was nearly sold out, with more companies than ever before represented at the SHOT Show," the release states.
"All of this positions us for a 2022 SHOT Show that will be undoubtedly the best in our industry's history, and we look forward to bringing our entire community together again at a show that will be one to remember."
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.