Wizard World has been the subject of scrutiny after Tom Spurgeon reported that gun dealer DS Arms, Inc. would be attending the Chicago show as a vendor. The news prompted a series of back-and-forth moves – that DS Arms was attending, not attending, attending, and as of today back to not attending, according to Bleeding Cool.
Spurgeon’s report also mentioned that the dealer was rumored to be attending Dragon Con in Atlanta, which seemed to be confirmed by DS Arms’ Facebook page:
Those rumors resulted in Dragon Con addressing the issue via Twitter to indicate that they were not allowing DS Arms to participate in the show as a vendor:
We've seen some confusion recently.
The entity, DS Arms, does not have a vendor table nor is allowed to sell at Dragon Con 2016.
— Dragon Con (@DragonCon) August 18, 2016
So why would DS Arms say they’ll be at Dragon Con, if that’s the case? We reached out to Dragon Con Director of Media Relations Dan Carroll, who explained that DS Arms will be at the event to participate in a weapons exhibit, but not as a vendor.
“Since 2009, Dragon Con has included an exhibit of historical weapons,” he said via email. “The Armory, as the exhibit is called, has at times included a full range of actual weapons or historically accurate replicas spanning time from the age of Alexander the Great to modern day. This exhibit is curated and staffed by noted military historian and weapons expert Kevin Dockery. DS Arms does have an informational table in The Amory, and firearms experts from DS Arms are among the volunteers who help staff this exhibit.”
Dragon Con has an informational page about The Armory and its purpose at the convention:
Well received at its debut at Dragon Con 2010, The Armory is now expanded further since that first show. Displays are of museum-quality and set up for photography. Explanatory placards describe the specimens and their significance and will be available in a bound publication at the show. Manufacturers and private collectors have offered to show to the Dragon Con attendees their line of wares and prize pieces. The Armory is a professional resource, whether you are an artist, author, actor, or technician you can handle, photograph, and gain first-hand knowledge of a wide range of weapons. See how to really hold an AK47 or defuse a pocket nuke. Special times are scheduled to give pros of all types hands on access.
That would seem to explain the conflicting reports and rumors of DS Arms’ involvement with Dragon Con, and while it’s a controversial topic, it does seem the setting and use of the gun dealer’s involvement is a lot more pertinent to this particular exhibit than the vendor floor in general.
Dragon Con takes place in Atlanta from September 2 through September 5 and is expected to draw more than 75,000 visitors this year.