Impact of NRA Annual Meeting

Over at PA Gun Rights, we take a look at the potential impact of Pittsburgh throwing away the NRA Annual Meeting in 2011:

For Pittsburgh, the decision to put politics above Second Amendment rights would be a huge pain for the local economy. The last time the Steel City hosted the organization’s annual meeting, they brought in $15 million to local coffers. The NRA was the first major convention to visit the city’s new convention center in 2004 and has remained one of the largest events Pittsburgh has ever hosted. Predictions for 2011 showed that gun owners would fill approximate 9,000 room nights and draw just as many visitors to the region as the record breaking 2004 event.

Seems like a lot of money for a cash strapped and job scarce city to be throwing away over something that doesn’t even make any sense.

4 thoughts on “Impact of NRA Annual Meeting”

  1. I’ve never understood the proclivity of the NRA to pump money into cities/states that are hostile to what should be the basic premise of the organization.

    1. There are a limited number of venues that can hold the meeting, and there’s a legitimate interest by members to have the meeting rotate around the country. Plus, having the meeting in a state can prompt action on behalf of gun rights in the 5 years leading up to the meeting itself from the time it was announced. Arizona was thisclose to making a huge change to their carry law just in time for NRA’s meeting. When it fell through thanks to the Governor, they did get the government to issue a temporary fix for the meeting itself which then made news illustrating how screwed up the law was – and it has now changed. In Wisconsin, they were so very close to having concealed carry multiple times, but Doyle got in the way. They used the event to launch a Wisconsin “Dump Doyle” campaign. Unfortunately, it didn’t succeed, but it did get folks fired up for something. Concealed carry was repeatedly brought up and was so close to becoming law.

      (For the record, though I use Wisconsin as an example, I didn’t consider the venue to really be large enough. The meetings and speeches had to be held at another building and crossing the main street bringing traffic downtown from the interstate was a pain. The exhibit hall was also much smaller and the tighter aisles were definitely felt. I don’t think the ballroom can fit nearly as many people as usually attend the banquet now, either. I believe they only had around 2-3,000 people at the time and Phoenix had more than 5,000. Though I loved the fact that there were two hotels connected to the venue.)

  2. This exact same situation arose in Columbus Ohio a few years ago. The Columbus City Council went ahead and passed an assault weapons ban right before the NRA meeting. They even had a bunch of press realeases bragging about how they wouldn’t “bow down” to the big bad gun lobby. The NRA pulled the meeting. Columbus businesses lost a TON of cash. Ultimately, it helped us to pass pre-emption across the State.

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