Thousands flocked to the Lone Star State May 3 to 6 for the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) Convention as Dallas became the center of the political world. The NRA Convention took place at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in the heart of downtown.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke May 4 at the Leadership Forum and reassured the pro-gun crowd of their support for the NRA.
“We will never give up our freedom. We will live free and we will die free,” said Trump according to The Associated Press.
Hundreds of exhibitors packed the exhibit hall inside the convention center promoting law enforcement agencies, gun material and other gun-related exhibitions.
The NRA Convention not only brought pro-Second Amendment activists and supporters, but invited protestors who pushed for common sense gun control.
In March, Dallas City Council Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway publicly urged the National Rifle Association to find another location for their convention instead of Dallas. The NRA responded by saying “no politician anywhere can tell the NRA not to come in [to] their city.”
“We are already there. Dallas, like every American city and community, is populated by NRA members,” Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association said Friday to the audience. “Media and political elites will not shut us up.”
The audience proceeded to chant “NRA, NRA, NRA!” as LaPierre asked, “How do you feel about the NRA?”
Plenty of “political elites” were in fact in attendance at the convention, including the governor of Texas Greg Abbott, U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and Rep. Pete Sessions.
“Media elites” included conservative commentators Dana Loesch, Dan Bongino and Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
“Another attack we are facing is the attack on our Second Amendment rights,” said Abbott.
Others who attended the convention included Braison Murgai, a high school junior from Houston with his mother who wanted to show their support for the NRA.
“I mean it’s always great here, bunch of people that are very friendly. I see service dogs a bunch of military members that are here. It seems like a good time,” says Murgai. “I’ve always had for a love of guns, shooting, a lot of hunting all of that, and I know that the NRA supports the safe use of guns and so that does attract me knowing that there’s people out there that do support the use of guns, and to use it safely. So I do appreciate that and that’s why I want to come here to see that there are people that want to see our Second Amendment thrive.”
The crowd was predominantly an older-generation group, although millennials are becoming more active in preserving the NRA’s mission of Second Amendment liberties since the recent Parkland High School shooting.
The National Rifle Association does more than just hold an annual conference. They use their influence on college campuses with “NRA-U” events to promote the organization and ways students can learn about gun safety.