The same kind of homegrown firestorm that brought the nation's largest outdoors show to its knees last month is spreading across the country.
We all saw what happened when the folks that host the Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show decided to ban "assault" rifles from their expo. The show collapsed.
Now, the business community is using a similar tactic on legislators across the country. But this time the results may not be so pointed.
The epicenter of the current battle is in Colorado. When the state's lawmakers began debating a series of fresh gun-control measures, a handful of manufacturers raised a red flag.
Most notable, Magpul Industries -- one of the leading makers of high-capacity magazines -- said it would move its operations to a more gun-friendly state if Colorado outlawed the sale of its popular product. That means 200 jobs are on the line and some $100 million worth of annual revenue may find a home in a new tax jurisdiction.
Now, almost perfectly following the script that crippled our beloved annual show in Harrisburg, celebrities are hopping onboard.
The folks at the Outdoor Channel have threatened to leave Colorado. The company's executive producer, Michael Bane, recently penned a note to state senator Steve King (R-Grand Junction).
"This morning I met with my three producers," Bane wrote, "and we made the decision that if these anti-gun bills become law, we will be moving all of our production out of Colorado. We have already canceled a scheduled filming session for late this month."
It's more proof that the nation's sportsmen still have a strong arm in the nation's political fight. In fact, if you listen to the folks at the Outdoor Channel, the sporting media have become a formidable lobby.
"We reach millions of people, and, quite frankly, we have a credibility that Colorado government officials can no longer match," Bane wrote. "Colorado is going to pay a huge price for laws that will do nothing."
Even with their powerful platforms, Magpul, the Outdoor Channel and the handful of smaller firms with a similar message may not win this fight. Earlier this week, Colorado's lawmakers passed legislation that would ban owning high-capacity magazines.
And with a nod toward hypocrisy and tax revenue, the new law failed to ban the manufacture of the same magazines. That means companies can still make the "dangerous" magazines, but they have to sell them to citizens of another state. There is no word yet on whether Magpul will make good on its promise to move.
While Colorado may be the home of a fresh set of gun rules, it's clear the sporting community is making its mark. Because of its efforts over the last two months, lawmakers across the nation are thinking twice before they introduce any half-cocked gun laws.
Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@york dispatch.com.