We’re staying at the same hotel we did in 2007, the last time NRA was in St. Louis for the Annual Meeting. Our first observation was that the hotel is much improved. When it was suddenly sold at the last minute, I was very concerned. However, the upgrades are very nice.
More importantly for purposes of this blog, I couldn’t help but notice far more people showing up to pre-register for the events that start tomorrow. I realize that NRA now schedules more on Thursday than they have in the past, but this was nuts to see people just heading back to the registration booth that’s open today. Tomorrow, and throughout the weekend, far more registration areas open, and it sounds like they will need them.
The hotels surrounding the convention center are bustling. Our hotel is across the street, and there has been a steady stream of cars pulling to drop off and check in, and many exhibitors are spotted in the hallways. The lobby of another hotel where we met with some staff members was a hub of activity as well.
While some St. Louis lawmakers may be protesting our appearance in this city, it’s clear that the staff at eateries and hotels are not with them on that. They have been nothing but welcoming and pleasant.
I still can’t believe that any prostest permit was honestly granted for the sidewalk outside of the convention center with so many expected to be inside. That area was already a bit crowded with a line today just for the Guns & Gold event – an Antique Roadshow-type show for guns. And I did get a kick out of NRA Secretary Jim Land helping out and checking out the guns. To me, that kind of illustrated that even though NRA might have professional staff, the vast majority came to NRA because they really love what’s important about the issue.
So, overall, signs point to a very busy weekend for NRA members in St. Louis. I’ll be tied up much of tomorrow morning with a meeting, presentation, then heading over to the Leadership Forum to cover the political news. At some point this weekend, I hope to cover some stuff from the floor, but mostly the people. Much like last year, I want to talk to real NRA members about the political scene.
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