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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Overheard at the Annual Meeting. I’d have been impressed if they could deliver a T&A product.
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.
I don’t spend much time on the show floor these days, but I was pleased to get to fondle an IMI Tavor for a bit.
I’ve never been a big fan of bullpups, because I find the ergonomics on most of them border on sadistic. The Tavor was one of the best laid out bullpups I’ve handled. Let me compare it to another, somewhat new bullpup, like the Kel-Tec RFB, and to the AR-15 platform most of us are familiar with.
The Tavor’s magazine is released easily, and removed from the magazine well. It is simple to accomplish this with one hand without losing your sight picture. The RFB’s magazine rotates into place, somewhat similar to an FAL or AK. Except in the RFB, my shooting hand gets in the way of the magazine coming out. The Tavor is vastly better for magazine changes than the RFB. But the Tavor is not better than the AR-15. With an AR, I can drop an old magazine out with my shooting hand while my support hand has already fetched a fresh magazine. The Tavor requires the support hand to engage the magazine release and remove the old magazine.
The safety selector on all three is pretty ergonomically positioned, but there’s a great deal of difference in the bolt release. Both the RFB and Tavor put the bolt release toward the rear of the weapon, at the butt of the stuck. Both also feature ambidextrous bolt releases. But the Tavor’s bolt release in a lever located at the bottom of the stock, and only requires a quick slap to send the bolt forward. The RFB has small nubs on either side of the stock which requires a finer motor skill. I find the RFB’s bolt release is harder to actuate instinctively. The AR-15 bolt can be slapped home too, but the AR-15 lacks ambidexterity here.
Triggers on bullpups are generally awful, and a big reason I don’t like them. I don’t have great things to say about either the Tavor or RFB in that area. The AR-15 stock trigger beats both, and there are excellent custom trigger options on the AR platform. I’m also not to keen on systems that have limited options for open sights.
So I won’t be trading in my AR for a Tavor any time in the near future, but the Tavor is one of the only bullpups I’ve tried I would even think of buying.
I have arrived back home from Houston. The flight was a little bumpy, but otherwise uneventful. Flying these days always seems to involve waiting, but we actually breezed through security at Intercontinental with no problem, after checking the sidearm. We had time to kill, so we stopped for some lunch at a Chili’s, amusing ourselves that they had posted a 51% sign out front, even though it was in the secure area of the airport. This Chili’s also only gave out plastic utensils, but would sell you a bottle of beer in the bottle. I guess none of the TSA bureaucrats have ever gone on a pub crawl in Glasgow after a soccer match lets out.
Houston was a great convention city. Given that I’ve done seven of these at this point, I feel I can critique. Saint Louis has been the only repeat city, and I’d only classify it as OK, but both times it’s broken records, including the one that just fell. I thought Phoenix was the best overall convention city until Houston, attendance numbers aside. Pittsburgh was the worst, with Louisville a good runner up for worst. The problem with Pittsburgh is the city can’t handle day trippers, which is most of attendance. The location has great potential, but they just can’t physically bring in people at a fast enough rate to set major records. Pittsburgh’s downtown area also epitomizes the word “rust belt,” and the hotels are spread out too much. Louisville can handle day trippers in spades, but the convention center is not where the hotel space is, and the split convention was kind of ridiculous. It was better for the day trippers, but sucked for anyone who wasn’t. Charlotte was a nice city, and a record breaker too, but too damned expensive. North Carolina carry laws at the time were obnoxious as well.
But overall, it’s always a great event. As I’ve said in the past, many of the people in this issue I have great respect and admiration for are approachable, down to earth, and fascinating people to speak with. We haven’t really formally organized anything for the past few years, but thing still happen on their own. Bob Cottrol came down to the press room for a while, and talked to a number of bloggers, for instance. And it’s not just Prof. Cottrol. How many anti-gun celebs, like Bloomberg, would offer to buy beers and share their cake? Yeah, right. But Michael Bane will (they surprised him with a birthday cake at the Michael Buys the Beer event). Those who came to that event also had an opportunity to meet Dave Kopel. Both Michael and Dave are now behind enemy lines in Occupied Colorado, though I think they both intend to do a great deal more than sit in the chair against the wall.
I can’t tell you that if you’re a rising star in social media, and attended NRA Annual meeting, you’ll be sipping drinks with Wayne LaPierre by the pool before you know it, but there are certainly interesting people to meet and speak with, and NRA has, for several years now, been willing to grant credentials to non-traditional media outlets. From there you can make your own opportunities. The Annual Meeting & Exhibits are in Indianapolis next year. If you do social or new media in the gun rights or gun arena, and are interested, e-mail me.
Here are the stats for NRA Annual meeting 2013 in Houston:
- New memberships and upgrades: $1,340,107. This is an 86% increase over last year. Wow.
- NRA Store Sales: $672,762, which is a 54% increase over last year.
- Foundation Banquet: $511,761. Largest ever.
- ILA Dinner: $800,000+, New record.
- Women’s Leadership Forum: $1.2 million. Largest ever.
- And total attendance? 86,228. That’s 12,488 more than the previous record of 73,740. Wow.
And this from some fringe, irrelevant organization that only represents the gun manufacturers.
UPDATE: The Civil Rights Defense Fund announced that the NRA National Firearms Law Seminar had a record 221 attendees as well.
Congratulations, Houston. You managed to turn out more protesters than any city since 2004, save Pittsburgh. Unfortunately for your political agenda, that turnout was still under 40 people.
We overheard many conflicting messages. For example, there’s the man who says that it’s okay to own a two-round firearm for hunting only. Turn to the right, and you find this sign at the rally:
After that conflicting message, one of the protesters pondered why we can’t manage to find a middle ground. Gee, I wonder why. (Said protester also wanted to know why we couldn’t have a conversation, then he accused me of being a Westboro Baptist Church supporter for being pro-gun. This is why there is no conversation.)
These folks said they they didn’t want to take our guns, just promote more regulation. Well, call me paranoid, but when your messaging is that my next firearm purchase (even with a background check) is somehow to blame for death, I don’t have much faith that you’re being honest about being willing to stop at background checks.
Last night, an anti-gun group on Twitter was proclaiming a “WORLD RECORD” protest because someone stuck around for a couple of hours and read lots of names of crime victims. Somehow, I don’t think it set any real record, nor do I think Guiness will be calling them anytime soon.
For the people who claim they all in favor of outright democracy and rule of the majority, there was a common theme that they could not understand the concept that they were simply outvoted. It’s not possible for them to wrap their heads around the notion that not everyone agrees with their world view, so it must be all due to money.
And, finally, this woman says that her precious snowflake is more important than any of your civil rights.
Check out our Pinterest account in the “Social Media” section of the side bar. More pictures will be forthcoming of yesterday’s protest. If you’re looking for guns and gear, there is probably better coverage out there to be found. These days I never get to spend much time on the show floor, and to be honest, the show floor has been so crowded I can only be down there for so long. I’m not really agoraphobic, but it was tight enough at one point yesterday it was causing me enough anxiety to leave the floor. I told Bitter “At the rate this herd is moving, we won’t hit the other side of the show floor until next Tuesday.”