The NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits kicked off Thursday afternoon in Atlanta, launching the organization’s 146th annual convention that will include wall-to-wall guns, politicking and a president.
The show allows the NRA, its leaders and members establish policy agendas and direction as well as reflect on accomplishments and see the newest products in the industry. According to the show’s website, more than 80,000 people will attend along with 800-plus exhibitors during the three days the convention floor is open.
On Friday, the first full day of the show, the centerpiece includes the NRA Leadership Forum, in which political and issue leaders discuss efforts from their perspective. Political bigwigs from the pro-gun side will join to give speeches. This year the highlight will be a speech by President Trump, marking the first time a sitting president attended the event in more than 30 years.
The NRA says per Secret Service standards, to attend this year’s leadership forum attendants must leave guns, ammo, gun parts, holsters or weapons of any kind at the door (or your car or hotel). The same goes with packages, backpacks, bags larger than 18x13x7, coolers, glass or thermal containers, selfie-sticks, signs, laser pointers, or any item determined to be a safety hazard.
Yet, per state law, attendants can bring carry firearms if he or she has a Georgia-approved permit — just not into Friday’s leadership forum. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution goes over the do’s and don’ts of carrying in Atlanta.
But if political theater isn’t your thing, Friday also begins a host of seminars and workshops on marksmanship and self-defense that carry over into Saturday and Sunday.
Under special events, the NRA hosts traditional happenings like fundraisers, including the women’s luncheon and later the NRA Foundation banquet on Friday. The NRA country concert is headlined this year by Hank Williams, Jr. on Saturday, and a national prayer breakfast will be held Sunday.
NRA members can attend the convention, but tickets are required for most special events. However, most of those events will stream live online. Check out the NRA-AM website.