Wizard World Chicago Fans Are Not Happy About A Gun Maker's Booth
By Gwendolyn Purdom in News on Aug 17, 2016 8:31PM
(Bekki Y. Wasmuth/Chicagoist)
In addition to the cosplay makeup tutorials, the highly-anticipated "Back to the Future" reunion, and the Music of Video Games concert at this weekend's Wizard World Chicago convention, attendees will have another exhibitor to check out, though many aren't all that psyched about it: a gun manufacturer and dealer. Barrington-based D.S. Arms, Inc. will have a presence at the four-day event despite earlier reports that convention officials had rescinded their invite when fans expressed outrage.
According to The Comics Reporter, D.S., which specializes in U.S. and foreign small arms weapon systems, was originally scheduled to "[present] imitation, costume Star Wars and other movie/comic type weaponry," but when Wizard Entertainment realized the company was a manufacturer and dealer of actual weaponry, they "elected to not retain them as an exhibitor at the event." Fast forward a couple days, and outlets were reporting Wizard had changed its tune once again and D.S. would be at the show.
Fans and attendees have reacted to the news and confusion with outcry and amusement. The hashtag #GunFreeComicCon has been getting a lot of social media traction in the days leading up to this weekend's event, which kicks off at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont on Thursday.
Yeah, can we not have guns for sale at comic-conventions? Maybe allow for ONE safe place of escape for geeks? #GunFreeComicCon— (((I-ManBlueLant))) (@KalelData) August 17, 2016
I won't go to a con where people need to fear getting killed because someone decided it was ok to sell guns there. #GunFreeComicCon— Nyxie Black (@LampshadeQueen) August 16, 2016
Thinking of setting up a booth to promote human trafficking at Wizard World Chicago. Any interest? #GunFreeComicCon— The Outhousers (@TheOuthousers) August 16, 2016
Comic Con events' weapons policies have grown tighter in recent years, according to the Hollywood Reporter. While many attendees come armed with faux medieval axes or cosplay replicas of Needle from "Game of Thrones," at gatherings like San Diego's Comic Con staff have been cracking down and confiscating such accessories. Organizers told the celebrity news outlet that D.S. was officially confirmed for the show after they'd been able to clarify they would adhere to the event's policies—which includes no actual firearms allowed.
Website Bleeding Cool says they were told the gun maker, who will be set up in Booth 317 at the show—if you're interested—will only be peddling fakes.