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Is The NRA Really Banning Guns At Its Convention?

A woman points a handgun with a laser sight at a wall display of other guns during the 2007 National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis.
Jeff Roberson
/
AP
A woman points a handgun with a laser sight at a wall display of other guns during the 2007 National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis.

The National Rifle Association, which supports Second Amendment rights, is holding its annual convention in Nashville, Tenn., this weekend. So it came as a surprise to see headlines that said the expected 80,000 people attending the gun-rights group's convention will not be allowed to carry their firearms.

The truth, as it turns out, is more complicated.

As Blake Farmer of member station WPLN in Nashville tells our Newscast unit, one of the venues is enforcing its ban on guns. Here's more:

"[I]t's not unusual for meeting sites to restrict guns. In Nashville, those with carry permits are allowed in the convention hall, but not across the street in Bridgestone Arena, where the nightly concerts are held."

And, as Blake notes, display firearms on the exhibit floor at the NRA convention will have their firing pins removed — which is typical for such shows.

Bob Owens, editor of BearingArms.com, a gun-rights website, writes:

"The National Rifle Association holds an annual meeting every year in a different host city, and requires that attendees follow the federal, state, and local laws applicable in that city, like every major convention of every significant national group, ever.

"This year in Tennessee, that means that attendees can indeed carry firearms in the Music City Center with the proper license in accordance with Tennessee law. Bridgestone Arena prohibits the possession of firearms, and always has. Attendees to the concerts held there are not allowed to carry weapons according to these pre-existing laws."

The Memphis Daily News explains Tennessee's gun laws here.

Speakers at the conference are expected to include, according to The Tennessean, GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas as well as likely candidates former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.