Even after the impassioned response to the school shooting in February in Parkland, Florida, the NRA is not struggling with popularity or support: The group’s membership has reportedly risen in recent months. In March, its political-victory fund raised the most money in the course of a single month that it has in 15 years, bringing in a total of nearly $2.4 million.
Indeed, as the NRA hosts its national convention this weekend in Dallas, the organization continues to be beloved by millions of Americans—and shows few signs of changing its messaging. The convention, now in its 147th year, has reportedly drawn around 80,000 attendees, and there wasn’t an empty seat in the 10,000-seat auditorium where President Trump spoke there Friday, his fourth year speaking at the convention.
Parkland’s influence on the weekend, though, is still subtly perceptible. The gun-control movement that gained momentum in the wake of the February school shooting will be out in force in Dallas, as there are multiple protests, a “die-in,” and advocacy training planned to coincide with the convention.
For thousands of Americans, though, the event is effectively the same as it’s always been: a chance to celebrate gun rights, or just to visit the trade show and scope out new products. In fact, according to The Washington Post, many are arriving at the convention as passionate as ever, guided by the sense that their cause is under attack by gun-control advocates and the media. The convention is a reminder of the daily role the NRA plays in the lives of many Americans, especially young people, whose involvement with the organization helps its long-term stability. (The NRA did not immediately respond to my request for comment on this story.)