The 2021 edition of the NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits, scheduled for early September in Houston, has been officially canceled amid concerns for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: will other major shows follow suit in the coming months?
BELOW IS THE OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE OF THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION IN FULL:
Due to concern over the safety of our NRA family and community, we regret to inform you that we have decided to cancel the 2021 Annual Meeting & Exhibits. This cancellation applies to all events and meetings that were scheduled in Houston. We will provide future notification regarding a rescheduled date for the annual Meeting of Members.
We make this difficult decision after analyzing relevant data regarding COVID-19 in Harris County, Texas. We also consulted with medical professionals, local officials, major sponsors & exhibitors, and many NRA members before arriving at this decision. The NRA Annual Meeting welcomes tens of thousands of people, and involves many events, meetings, and social gatherings. Among the highlights of our annual meeting are acres of exhibit space featuring the latest and greatest firearms, the display of countless accessories, and the offering of adventures and group gatherings that many travel hundreds, and some even thousands, of miles to experience. We realize that it would prove difficult, if not impossible, to offer the full guest experience that our NRA members deserve.
The NRA’s top priority is ensuring the health and well-being of our members, staff, sponsors, and supporters. We are mindful that NRA Annual Meeting patrons will return home to family, friends and co-workers from all over the country, so any impacts from the virus could have broader implications. Those are among the reasons why we decided to cancel our 2021 event.
We would like to thank our members, attendees, exhibitors, and staff for their understanding and support. We are grateful for the many contributions of the George R. Brown Convention Center, state and local officials, community organizers, area hotels, and countless event venues across Houston. We receive enormous support from Houston and the State of Texas – and we hope to return to the Bayou City for a full annual meeting experience.
The NRA looks forward to a Celebration of Freedom in Louisville in May 2022. In the meantime, we will support many other NRA local events and smaller gatherings – in a manner that is protective of our members and celebrates our Second Amendment freedom.
We wish continued health and safety to our entire NRA family.
The cancellation of the 2021 edition of NRAAM is but the latest in a string of cancellations that hit the trade shows of the international firearms industry in the past year and a half due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: as our readers will know all too well, from February 2020 onwards the SHOT Show, IWA (not once but twice!), HIT Show in Italy and NASGW have all been canceled, while defense and security expos worldwide have been held more or less regularly due to their generally smaller and more selected attendance.
As the COVID-19 pandemic doesn't appear to be subseding, it's not unlikely that SHOT Show, IWA and other major trade shows for the global civilian and sporting firearms industry could also be subject for cancellation in 2022. Should that be the case, many companies will be forced to rethink their marketing and communication strategies, in order to bridge a gap in direct contact that is increasingly dividing them from buyers and the general public at large – even in the face of stable, or sometimes increasing, sales figures – and that the mainstream media and classic communication strategies don't seem to be capable of bridging on their behalf.