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Preparing for Indianapolis

As tens of thousands of gun owners prepare to head to Indianapolis in the coming days, let’s take a quick look at how the media coverage is shaping up.

In this story about the renovation at the Westin next to the Convention Center that is only finishing days before the NRA convention comes to town, the reporters include these little nuggets from the local tourism authorities:

VisitIndy told FOX59 News that the 7,100 downtown hotel rooms are experiencing a virtual sellout for the weekend, with many of the 33,000 hotel rooms in the metropolitan area filling up as well.

They say the expected economic impact is predicted to be about $55 million based on recent numbers.

The Washington Times does a glowing review of the event for Beltway insiders who often forget that NRA is a group with real grassroots.

The Indianapolis Star provides some tips on what NRA visitors should do in the area. Some of you might find it odd that a cemetery is on their list of things to see, but I can tell you that I was actually thinking of going to visit this cemetery if time allowed. First of all, there’s a president and vice president buried there. Secondly, it really does appear to be pretty stunning. I learned about it before this article because I have a distant family member buried there.

With the Illegal Mayors of Everytown Moms holding their own mini event, expect letters to the editor like this one to hit continually throughout the show. They learned last year that headlines about record breaking attendance and 80,000+ gun owners standing up for their rights at a convention was a bad thing for their cause. More than any direct protest, they are trying to make sure that every article about tens of thousands of politically-motivated gun owners showing up to prep for punishing anti-gun lawmakers at the polls this year includes a mention that gun control activists are also gathering. This is a PR game, and it’s one that has been successfully played before in other issues. (There was an event for conservative online activists that followed around the much bigger liberal version every year, and many media stories about the liberal convention would include mention of the conservative convention.)

Franklin Graham’s “Background Check” Support Becomes an Issue for the NRA

I’ve noticed anti-gun folks jumping on the fact that Franklin Graham is leading the NRA Annual Meeting Prayer Breakfast, and they hope that he’ll publicly challenge NRA at their own event to accept the President’s background check agenda since Graham endorsed the White House’s private transfer ban proposals last year.

First, as much experience as I have with NRA Annual Meetings, I couldn’t tell you which office puts on the prayer breakfast because I have no idea which office is responsible for booking those speakers. I’m 99.99999% sure it’s not ILA, the office that actually keeps up with politics and pays attentions to such important policy details. This is an event that has never been a big deal before, really just an opportunity for people who don’t want to miss church or miss out on the giant three day gun show.

The anti-gunners highlight this interview with Time that Franklin Graham did in early March of last year. The key section:

Graham…told TIME [he and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention] have agreed to back universal background check legislation put forward by the administration in the wake of last year’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

By specifically citing the administration-backed proposal at the time of the interview, it’s kind of important to look at the details of the legislation anti-gunners want Graham to bring up at the Prayer Breakfast. The language in the Senate that the White House was backing at the time of Graham’s interview came from Chuck Schumer. That language would have made teaching someone to shoot on your own land a felony, as well as loaning your hunting rifle to a friend for a hunting trip. The record keeping requirements would have created a registration system, and spouses would have faced possible felony prosecution if their spouse who bought the gun left home for more than 7 days without officially designating the “transfer” of said firearms as a gift. As Sebastian said in his summary after reading the language:

This bill has nothing to do with ensuring people who are getting guns are law-abiding, and everything to do with getting backdoor registration, and creating a patchwork of rules and laws that will land anyone who uses guns, and isn’t a lawyer, in federal prison for a long time.

The bill that Graham was backing at the time he talked to Time was not Toomey-Manchin, the somewhat less extreme bill that was later voted down in the Senate.

Now, his views on that terrible bill from Schumer aren’t directly related to his ability to preach a sermon. But, given the venue and host group, I don’t think most attendees who paid for tickets really expect a preacher who publicly backed the White House’s bill that would leave many of them open to felony prosecutions for simply passing on their traditions or going on a long business trip.

At this late date, I wouldn’t really put money on a bet that we’ll see any changes to the speakers, but it will be interesting to see if Graham decides to act on the encouragement of the gun control groups. He certainly didn’t come out and condemn the White House-backed Senate bill once the language and summaries became widely available, so presumably he maintains his support of the policies. That certainly could be a very big problem if he does decide to go along with the gun control groups and use NRA’s event as a venue to promote the bill again.

NRA needs to be prepared to handle this issue since they are the ones who issued the invitation with this policy problem hanging out there. Certainly, whoever issued this invitation really screwed up by providing someone who so publicly endorsed these terrible policies a keynote spot without actually looking into their background on the policies that have dominated headlines for the last year and threatened our rights. This wasn’t some questionable comment about some vague policy from 20 years ago, this was a highly discussed interview with a well known media outlet just a year ago about specific bills that forced NRA to spend quite a bit of manpower and money to preserve our Second Amendment rights. It’s a public policy view that should not have been overlooked, and NRA needs to be ready to answer to their members if Graham does stand by his position from last March at their event.

I Love Being Protested

Miguel reports on Moms Demand Action’s plans to protest the NRA Annual Meeting. Whether they will protest directly, or just do their own event nearby to try to draw media attention away from the convention remains to be seen. Last year in Houston, which wasn’t too long after Moms Demand got started, they managed a protest, but it wasn’t all that impressive. With more wind coming out of their sails every day, I can’t imagine they’ll do better at Indianapolis, but as Miguel mentions, this is her backyard. Also, with Bloomberg’s money, they can afford to pay for buses.

Peruta, New York, Colorado, oh my!

With so much litigation currently up in the air, and some of it having a shot at having a hugely meaningful impact to improve the growth of the pro-gun community, it seems like a good time to remind any lawyers or seriously legal-minded types about the NRA Foundation’s Law Seminar taking place next month at the Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.

I have to say, there’s rarely been a year that I’ve been more excited by the topics – the issue of the new carry law in Illinois, the nail-biting cases in the jurisdictions where we did suffer some setbacks, and the regular topic that I often find oddly interesting – laws dealing with shooting ranges. Peruta, even though I mention it in the title, isn’t specifically on the schedule. However, when you get a bunch of pro-gun legal minds together, it’s pretty much assured that a big game-changing case like that won’t come up in some form.

Remember, attorneys, it can count for CLE credit. For non-attorneys, you never know what you might learn that can keep you out of jail. For example, I should probably warn my horse farm owning cousin that last year, I learned that riding one’s horse at “unusual speed” on any street or alley is a crime in my home state.

I Can’t Wait to Mail Letters Using My Charlton Heston Stamps

The pre-order page is now posted for the Charlton Heston stamp from the Post Office. It says that pre-orders will be available April 9, and the launch is set for April 11. You know I’m so going to get some when they come out. In fact, I think I’ll find excuses to mail some letters this summer just to have an excuse to use them.

If the Post Office is interested in making some money off of these, they should ask if NRA would put up promotional posters at the NRA convention in Indy and note that the post office downtown is only a 15 minute walk from the convention center. They might try to claim that it’s only honoring his Hollywood work, but they really need to look at the fact that they need to make money. This event happens to provide a very targeted audience – regardless of the motivation to buy.

Video Day: Charlton Heston at the 1998 NRA Annual Meeting

This was held in Philadelphia. I can’t imagine NRA hosting an Annual Meeting in Philadelphia today. I did not go, because I wasn’t into guns back then, but I thought it was interesting that it got Ed Rendell to say something nice about the NRA. I was surprised this video was out there:

Media Fails; Blames NRA

When I first noticed the “welcome” piece from the Indianapolis Star I didn’t comment on the bits where the author implied that NRA & the convention bureau were trying to keep the convention a secret, claiming that “the NRA was uncharacteristically low-key about its plans” and that tourism officials were “not touting one of the largest convention it’s bagged in years.” I just thought it was part of his hit piece.

It turned out that this seems to be a common view in the Indy media based on this article. They say that NRA is blaming a miscommunication, but they still imply that NRA was trying to hide their location.

It’s as if local reporters are looking to bash NRA for their own failures. Just in a quick search, we’ve been talking about Indianapolis as a known location since early 2012. It hasn’t been a secret. No one has been hiding anything, nor has NRA been particularly low-key. They usually don’t start advertising until the year of the event. This year, it’s a little more complex since a good portion of the people in driving distance are also in driving distance of the Harrisburg sportsman’s show, one of the largest shows in the country, that starts this weekend. They have to balance out advertising for each event, which historically hasn’t been an issue. Regardless, the fact that Indy is hosting the convention has not been some big secret, contrary to their assertions.

It’s as if the media is so desperate to attack NRA that they are now reaching make up new controversies that really comes down to a situation where journalists are just too lazy to use Google.

Welcoming Gun Owners to Indy

It seems that the Indianapolis Star has decided to roll out the welcome mat for the NRA convention later this year by effectively calling us delusional and announcing that they are against everything at the convention, but they’ll tolerate since it brings in money. Oh, and they also want to remind readers that we little lady gun owners are clearly only dependent upon our men to make all decisions regarding self-defense purchases.

For example, the columnist argues that Barack Obama’s gun control agenda may never have actually existed, so he’s not sure what NRA members are organizing against. Those executive orders the White House bragged about, clearly not evidence of a gun control agenda. Those press conferences calling for gun controls, clearly not evidence of a gun control agenda. Those questionnaires Obama filled out while running for lower offices that backed banning common guns, clearly not evidence of a gun control agenda. The current campaign arm of the Obama administration – OFA – sending out emails to organize a movement for more gun control laws, absolutely not evidence of any gun control agenda. According to the Indianapolis Star, all of these things are just figments of the imagination of NRA members.

NRA Annual Meeting Roundup

I thought I’d add some coverage from fellow bloggers who attended, and some who didn’t attend but blogged about the meeting, nonetheless.

I missed this protester. What she calls loopholes, other people call freedom.

The gun control activists are stoked. You’ll notice that there was more interest in the protesters than guns on the floor. Actually, there wasn’t much new this year. I don’t think manufacturers want to introduce new products in the midst of all this madness. Kevin also notes that we’re a different species to them.

From Jennifer: Things I learned at the NRA convention. She also has some coverage of the protest.

Joe notes that Connecticut Senator Blumenthal thinks we had nothing to celebrate in Houston. Joe didn’t make it this year because he was busy with Boomershoot.

Great Satan Inc has more protest coverage.

Rob Pincus made quite a stir suggesting folks keep locked and secured guns in the kids bedrooms. But an anti-gun activist stating in front of reporters that he keeps an unsecured shotgun under the bed with kids in the house didn’t raise any ire at all. Maybe because no one believes any of these people actually are gun owners.

A magic Magpul bus.

Random thoughts on the NRA Annual Meeting from John Richardson.

More wrap up from Old NFO.

JayG has an after action review. He also participated in a story Buzzfeed was working on at the convention.

Overheard at the Annual Meeting. I’d have been impressed if they could deliver a T&A product.

Most Popular Gun at NRAAM?

I can’t tell you what the most popular gun was at the NRA convention on the exhibit floor, but I did hear a report about the most popular gun featured on the NRA Foundation’s Wall of Guns.

Contest participants were given a chance to buy one (or more) of 100 tickets in a drawing. The winners of each drawing from each batch of 100 were given their pick of 81 guns. In some cases for lower cost guns, they could pick two selections.

I spoke with another Foundation supporter who reported that before they stopped drawing, they had to pull off a Tommy gun because they ran out. I checked the model they had listed, and I believe it was this one.

Speaking of giving guns away, do we have any readers interested in a Colt LE6900? It’s a $899 gun that our Friends committee will be raffling off in a few short weeks for tickets that are only $20. It’s one of five guns we’ll be drawing for out of a maximum 300 tickets sold. That means if you liked the odds on our committee’s 1911 raffle last year, you should really like these odds.

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