NRA sets record straight on gun free zones at upcoming Dallas show

The Second Amendment organization is busy rebuffing media reports that its annual meeting in Texas this week has a big “no guns” sign lit.

The National Rifle Association has been quick to refute claims that an associated speaking event where the U.S. Secret Service has a security zone established to protect President Donald Trump and Vice President Pence translates to an institutionalized gun free zone established by the member organization.

While Friday’s scheduled Leadership Forum at the 7,400-seat Kay Bailey Hutchison Arena will be an area of heightened security under federal jurisdiction, the rest of the Convention Center and the Omni Dallas Hotel will be open to those with lawfully carried firearms. Past meetings have had similar constraints.

The Associated Press and other media outlets incorrectly said the NRA had banned guns during Trump and Pence speeches at its annual meeting. The AP later deleted a tweet with that information and issued a clarification that the ban was put in place by the Secret Service and did not cover the entire event.

“Those stories and those tweets are a lie, a fabrication,” said NRA TV host Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent assigned to protective duty for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barrack Obama. “The NRA did not ban guns.”

Elsewhere on social media, Parkland student turned gun control advocate Cameron Kasky over the weekend posted a screenshot of the Leadership Forum security notice, saying, “The NRA has evolved into such a hilarious parody of itself,” criticizing the gun ban. That tweet and others ignited the media firestorm and led to a string of clarifications from NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch.

The NRA expects 80,000 people will attend along with 800-plus exhibitors during the three days the convention floor is open. Founded in 1871 with Union Army Civil War Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside elected as its first president, this year will be the organization’s 147th annual meeting.

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