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NRA on Convention Carry

Some gun blogs were upset about it. So, I decided to ask NRA folks about the rules/laws forbidding carry at their annual meeting. NRA explains:

The claim that NRA does not want members to carry is flat out wrong. Both Phoenix and Louisville allowed concealed and open carry in the convention center. In fact, NRA fought to make sure attendees could carry at those locations.

In Charlotte, just like in every city that we have held our annual meeting, NRA is bound by legal and contractual obligations. We were unable to remove the prohibition due to state, city and convention center regulations.

Some people have mentioned an exception under the law for “A person participating in the event, if a person is carrying a gun, rifle, or pistol with the permission of the owner, lessee, or person or organization sponsoring the event.” This exception has two prongs. First, the person must be a participant. Second, the person must have permission.

While some may suggest that NRA could be the one giving permission, the reality is that NRA would not be the one who would determine whether or not someone is a participant. A prosecutor, judge, and jury would be ultimately making that determination.

Even if NRA declared all attendees participants, a prosecutor could argue that he/she was an attendee, spectator, guest of a member or a ticket holder, so that could not be relied on for a legal defense. And, in the end, it is the person with the gun who would be prosecuted. This is indeed a gray area, but without a clear exception there is a serious risk of arrest and prosecution, and NRA does not want our members risking prosecution.

The fact is if NRA only went to places that allowed CCW in convention centers, we would be limited to 2 or 3 choices. Because of the size of NRA’s conventions, we already are limited with our choices of cities that can accommodate us. We also strive to have regional balance to allow members from all over the country to attend. People should also be mindful that NRA has worked to change laws all over the country. With incremental wins, those who may not be able to carry in a certain location today may be able to do so down the road. After all, Arizona’s gun laws have come long way since we were there last year.

31 Responses to “NRA on Convention Carry”

  1. The Packetman Says:

    You would think the NRA would have explained this a bit … earlier?

  2. SayUncle Says:

    well, the revelation about the law mentioned above only came to light yesterday.

  3. Aaron Spuler Says:

    Nice to see clarification from them. Honesty (up front) is always the best policy….

  4. alan Says:

    That sure is a lot of weaselly lawyer words.

  5. SayUncle Says:

    well, of course. Anything they release goes through an army of them.

  6. Tam Says:

    My wookie suit has longer fur than your wookie suit. :p

  7. Lyle Says:

    That last paragraph is the one that matters. I would have thought most poeple would have understood it beforehand. Convention centers big enough for that show are rare, of course they tend to exist in large cities, and it is in our large cities that gun control tends to be rampant.

  8. RML Says:

    NRA could be like the Rainbow Family and get the word out that some patch of federal public land out West will be the site of the gathering, and work with the federales to set up the latrines, cooking areas, water supplies, and solar arrays, shooting range, trade fair, etc. No prob with open/concealed carry depending upon applicable laws. Lots of blue blazers and red ties will get dusty, but that’s the way it is out here.

  9. Fiftycal Says:

    So, the NRA is “limited to 2 or 3 choices”. WHY NOT USE THEM??? I know Houston could handle it and there would be NO PROHIBITION on carry. Why not do that for the next “2 or 3” years and THEN see what happens?

  10. Miguel Says:

    God… spare me the crybabies.

    Unc, thanks for the Info.

  11. Mikee Says:

    If NRA announced they would only have conventions in Houston, I bet the “negotiations” for group rates at hotels and the fees for convention center use would be interestingly one sided, favoring the businesses rather than the attendees.

    Other than that, sure, Houston in late May is already 95F and 100% humidity.

  12. Jerry Says:

    I hate lawyers, but still, it sounds like the old ‘Jesus hung out in bars’ argument. And tell Tam I call her wookie suit, and raise the hair on my back.

  13. KCSteve Says:

    Of course the NRA could use the economic impact of their convention to get the laws changed in cities that have adequate facilities….

  14. JJR Says:

    Dallas could accommodate them as well; I carried concealed legally when the Texas Library Association was in the Dallas Convention Center in 2008.

    Couldn’t enter the Sixth Floor Museum at lunchtime, though, as they have a 30.06 sign posted which bars CHLs.
    (I assume Mannlicher Carcanos are also verboten there)

  15. Xrlq Says:

    To the whiners: yes, NC’s gun laws generally suck, but no, having to drive a little over an hour to the national convention doesn’t suck, so fuck all y’all.

  16. Sebastian Says:

    My wookie suit has longer fur than your wookie suit. :p

    It’s not the length of the fur on your wookie suit that matters, it’s the density!

  17. Sebastian Says:

    Of course the NRA could use the economic impact of their convention to get the laws changed in cities that have adequate facilities

    And they have. Last year in Arizona I couldn’t carry in restaurants that served alcohol, with my PA LTC. Now I can, and without a license. Hell of a fucking change for a year, if you ask me. Will we be able to do the same with North Carolina? Who knows, but it’s worth a try.

  18. Sebastian Says:

    To the whiners: yes, NCs gun laws generally suck, but no, having to drive a little over an hour to the national convention doesnt suck, so fuck all yall.

    I will say the same if it ever comes back to Philly. But you can carry in the Pennsylvania Convention Center (in Philly), and even in the places that serve alcohol. Though I’m not sure the PA Convention Center can handle and NRA Annual Meeting anymore. Even if it can, Philly’s achilles heel for big conventions has long been the city’s lack of hotel space near the convention center. Last time Philly hosted NRA Annual Meeting was in 1998. Fast Eddie was Mayor then, and, surprise, managed to put aside his differences to get the money the convention brings. It’s a hell of a lot bigger now than it was then.

  19. LibertyNEws Says:

    They are mistaken about only being limited to 2 or 3 places. They’ve already listed 2, and I know they have been in Seattle before and we have CPL and OC here. I think its time for the NRA to take a stand and tell the cities that are oppressing their citizens that they will not get a dime of our money.

  20. ASM826 Says:

    That’s lawyerese.

    When gun clubs in North Carolina charge admission for a shoot, everyone understands they are participating and it is the sponsoring organization that allows the guns on the property. If I paid a fee at a club, then only watched the event, would I have to worry about being arrested for having a gun?

    Who would do the search or the arrests if the venue owner or the sponsoring organization didn’t inform the police of a problem? If the law allowing the sponsoring organization to permit carry did not seem like enough, they could have registered everyone that expressed an interest as a security guard.

    Where we really are is this. Beyond informing people attending that it will be illegal to carry, the NRA will be putting everyone though metal detectors. So not only do they not trust you to carry, they don’t trust you to not carry, and therefore will be searching you. Just about the way the Brady Campaign thinks it should be.

  21. Borepatch Says:

    There’s no way to read ASM826’s last paragraph and not think “brand damage”.

    It’s like the Coca-Cola shareholder’s meeting serving Pepsi.

    The fundamental reason for your organization’s existence – RKBA – is being prohibited by the organization.

    Marketing FAIL.

    I’m sure that there are a bunch of folks in the NRA hierarchy who are comfortable with the incrementalist approach, and who will be happy to circle the wagons here. But this entire battle is one of perceptions, and the message that is winning is the gun owners are normal people who can be trusted with guns.

    The NRA’s given that up.

  22. straightarrow Says:

    NRA, the nation’s largest and most effective gun control advocacy organization.

  23. BenC Says:

    Still haven’t heard the ONE thing that would make this OK with me “We made a mistake and in the future we will will make sure any venue we chose will allow our members to exercise the second amendment rights that we stand for.” Anything other than that is just mealy mouth excuses in my opinion.

  24. Wolfwood Says:

    Let’s be honest: if the NRA started having conventions exclusively in Houston or some other place that allowed carry, people here would be whining that they’re not allowed to wander around with machine guns danging belts of ammunition.

    I mean, this is true, yes? Who will be the first person here to argue that handguns should be allowed but belt-fed machine guns should not?

  25. Wolfwood Says:

    …or rather, that it’s obscene that the NRA should not drop everything to allow handgun carry but that machine guns are totally off-limits

  26. aczarnowski Says:

    Sounds like a case of pleasing all the people all the time. Heck, I can’t even get a group of 15 friends together someplace with one of them getting uppity about location or some other issue.

    But I do not buy the 2-3 location line. That’s BS. I know Minneapolis/St. Paul could handle the NRA, the RINO national convention went fine in ’08. Phoenix. Seattle was mentioned. Indy hosts GenCon, which has I would guess is bigger and I know I’ve seen a Wookie there before. Texas has a bunch of big cities. Nevada. Seems like they could spread the convention around while sticking to friendly venues pretty easily to me.

  27. Mu Says:

    One wonders, if AZ can introduce MLK day to get a Superbowl, can NC change their laws to attract big conventions, with sufficient pressure from a large interest group.
    To me that statement reads like: We owed someone a big favor so we put the convention there. And we don’t have the cloud in NC to actually get a statement of the state DA that attending the convention qualifies as participant under state law.

  28. The Packetman Says:


    It’s probably just me, but if you have a point, I’m not getting it.

    No one that I’ve heard has made the claim that anyone should be able to carry crew-served weapons around the convention site.

    What is at issue here is that the NRA apparently didn’t do enough research into the legal carrying of handguns (by permitted individuals) by convention-goers. If they had, then there wouldn’t be am issue now.

    As I read it, nobody (save law enforcement on duty) is allowed to carry in the convention center, and if that’s true, then it is what it is – deal with it (and no one is ‘whining’ about it).

    Should the NRA use whatever economic pressure it can to change the laws? Yes.

    Should the NRA try to find carry-friendly locations in which to hold conventions? Yes.

    All within the parameters of what they need, size-wise, to hold a convention.

    What I have a problem with is that the NRA knew (or should have known) that no one could legally carry at the convention, and is just now (after much wailing and gnashing of teeth) getting around to letting members know.

    That’s what I find offensive.

  29. Borepatch Says:

    It would be helpful for the NRA to put up a public position on gun rights. So far, they do not seem to have done so, at least on their web site.

  30. The Packetman Says:

    Ah, Borepatch ….. there’s the rub!

    The NRA only wants to ‘protect’ your gun rights, but they’re very cagey about defining exactly what that means.

    I agree, some sort of mission statement, along with definable goals would go a long way.

  31. divemedic Says:

    The NRA’s chief mission is to secure funding, its secondary mission is hunting. Oh yeah, all that gun rights stuff, too.

    The Bradys are the best thing to happen to the NRA since Kennedy was shot, and I say this as an NRA life member.