The National Rifle Association has attracted a notable array of personalities for their 139th annual meeting. Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck and Chuck Norris will join a crowd expected to exceed 70,000. The potential record turnout has gotten political observers marveling at the power of the gun rights lobby. Especially considering its success at passing pro-gun legislation while Democrats are in power, many wonder: is the NRA politically bulletproof?
- You Bet, boasts famed guitarist and NRA
supporter Ted Nugent: "We know that President
Obama is against the NRA, but he's not going to speak about that,
because it would be political suicide, like for those who have stood up
in the past... He’s scared." CNN's Carol Costello agrees in part. "Some gun control
advocates feel betrayed that Mr. Obama isn’t fighting harder for gun
control. He’s even signed bills that allow guns in national parks and on
Amtrak trains – bills the NRA loves."
- It's Tyranny of the Minority, writes left-wing blogger Barbara O'Brien. She says the groups outsize influence in American politics is disproportionate to their actual size: "The National Rifle Association is hellbent on eliminating all restrictions on any citizens carrying guns anywhere he or she wants, including churches, workplaces, and now bars and restaurants. This is in spite of the fact that even in the most 2nd-amendment lovin’ red states a large majority of people think it’s a real bad idea for a bunch of drunken yahoos to be packing heat."
- Hold On. They Can't Even Bring Guns to Their Own Convention! notes Josh Sugarmann at the Huffington Post. If the NRA's so powerful, one would assume they could hold a gathering while armed to the teeth. Not so. All firearms are strictly prohibited at this year's Charlotte, North Carolina meeting. How come? Sugarmann cites a message to members issued by NRA headquarters:
The large size of our event and the fact that many of the largest convention centers are in some of the most restrictive cities leaves us with relatively few convention centers large enough to accommodate the Annual Meetings. In an effort to provide all NRA members a better opportunity to attend the Annual Meetings, it is important that we move the event around the country as much as possible. While we will not consider bringing the Annual Meetings to a city with gun laws we feel are restrictive, we must however deal with convention centers that have restrictions simply because there are so few convention centers that both allow conceal carry and are large enough to host all of the events that comprise the Annual Meetings.
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