“When it came to his attention that this was actually a pro-gun lobby show, he immediately cancelled his appearance,” Bruce Bobbins, spokesman for Leno, told MSNBC. “He found out that it was not what he was originally told it was, and he decided to cancel."
Leno was scheduled to emcee Shot Show's State of the Industry dinner on Jan. 20 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Shot Show is the largest annual gun show in the U.S., which attracts about 65,000 attendees.
The comedian received pressure from the Newtown Action Alliance to cancel his appearance and Leno contacted the group's chairman, Po Murray, to inform her of his decision Wednesday night. The Newtown Action Alliance was formed in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 26 people including 20 children. NSSF happens to be headquartered in Newtown.
NSSF organizers issued a statement upon learning of Leno's cancellation on their blog.
“He unilaterally cancelled his promised appearance due to pressure from the anti-gun lobby, which included false statements about our industry and its commitment to genuine firearms safety, which we attempted to personally correct with him, but to no avail. We are not deterred by their publicity seeking nor are we unfamiliar with the bullying political tactics of the gun control groups that seem to have as little respect for the First Amendment as they continually demonstrate with regard to the Second Amendment," NSSF officials wrote.
The organization did not say who would replace Leno as the emcee.
Leno's staff did not respond to a question from Kit Up! over how the comedian could confuse Shot Show for anything other than a "pro-gun lobby show."