The 35th annual Gun Rights Police Conference, held Sept. 19 and 20, reached well over 300,000 gun rights supporters, shattering records and becoming the most attended conference in the group's history.
Due to COVID-19, the conference was forced online with 120 speakers covering a range of topics from their homes and offices. Streaming live across multiple social media platforms, like YouTube and Facebook, the conference was firmly centered around the upcoming 2020 presidential election and new gun owners. Operating under the theme "Elect Freedom," multiple guests espoused the importance of casting votes in the election in order to secure the Second Amendment.
In addition to a strong election presence, the conference also aimed its sights on new gun owners -- offering information on how to engage and inspire newcomers to become ardent supporters of the Second Amendment. Many of the tips included leaving politics out of initial discussions and focusing on the fun aspects of gun ownership, encouraging gun activists to invite new gun owners to the range.
Tony Simon, founder of Diversity Shoot, said the key to expanding the 2A community is to reach out and support new gun owners."It's all about growing the Second Amendment and letting people see that gun owners aren't the negative media stereotype that they continually try to push," Simon said.
With the raging success of this year's conference, and guest speakers like Olympian Kim Rhode, Gottlieb said there's a lot to consider for next year's event.
“We had 25 percent more speakers than usual and much more content," he explained. "It may be very difficult to return to our traditional in-person conference format, and we will be evaluating how to do it bigger and better next year and in the years ahead."