Comic conventions are a great thing. Not only do many like-minded geeks get to have a safe space where they can meet people with similar interests and sometimes meet celebrities, but Cons are also a great thing for retailers to sell the wares to the geek community. You can ask any person who attends a Con and they can attest to spending hundreds of dollars for souvenirs for things they enjoy. Souvenirs could be anything from comic books, to posters, to the even obscure items. I once noticed people get wedding rings engraved in House Stark writings at a Con, so there’s something for everyone. One thing that is also at comic cons is the cosplay attire. Because Cosplay and comic Cons go hand in hand, there are such a plethora of items people can get related to Cosplay. Now it looks like replica weapons are also on that list and Wizard World isn’t too pleased with that.
DS Arms, a Chicago area gun manufacturer in the Chicago area set up a booth at Wizard World only to have the booth shut down when it was observed exactly what they were selling. Although the gun manufacturer was selling fake replicas, they were real enough to cause alarm for convention organizers who then shut the booth down. DS Arms says they make fake replicas for Hollywood but they were also sending somewhat mixed messages as videos promoted gun safety classes and gave information to convention attendees about real guns. DS Arms owner Dave Selvaggio isn’t shying away.
“Just because people are fans of comic books and sci-fi doesn’t mean they’re not interested in protecting themselves and their family and their belongings.”
Wizard World representative Jerry Milani released a statement related to the closing of the DS Arms booth.
“[DC Arms] was to have displayed and presented imitation, costume Star Wars and other movie/comic type weaponry. But, as it has come to our attention that the organization markets and sells actual, real-life weapons, we have elected to not retain them as an exhibitor at the event.”
Wizard World does allow fake weapons on the premises, only after staff inspection as per the convention policy. It appears that the DS Arms weapons did not pass wizard World’s litmus test.
In a current world, we have mass shooting often as well as shootings of unarmed citizens, selling authentic replicas might not be the best idea. In 2014 Darrien Hunt a 22-year-old black man cosplaying as anime character Mugen from Samurai Champloo and carrying a replica sword was shot six times (including shot four times from behind). In this current Black Lives Matter climate, where citizens have been killed holding toy guns in it’s not necessarily the best idea to sell replica weapons so identical that police officers cannot tell the difference and can possibly end up killing more people before they have the opportunity to tell the office it’s a fake gun for cosplaying.
Source: Washington Post