Sailorcurt is not alone in his disappointment that NRA has picked an off limits venue for the Annual Meeting. I would obviously rather be at a venue that allows carry as well, and this has been a constant complaint I’ve heard from members. It was nice in Kentucky and Phoenix because it was allowed. But NRA has competing interests to deal with in this regard.
NRA moves its Annual Meeting every year so that every once in a while, if you’re an NRA member, one will be coming to your neighborhood and you’ll have an opportunity to attend. They try to have it in places where as many NRA members as possible are within the radius of a day’s drive. Because the NRA Annual Meeting draws approximately 60,000 to 70,000 people, prominent political figures, a fair amount of media, and has some very significant space requirements, the number of venues that are capable of handling it is very limited, and it’s getting more limited as the meeting gets larger. For instance, Phoenix’s convention center is brand new and was built large enough to handle a convention of our size, and that opened that city up as a possibility which NRA took advantage of last year. We set a record for the largest single meal ever served in the history of Arizona. The Annual Members Banquet drew, if I recall, something like 6000 people.
The fact is there just aren’t that many venues scattered around the country that can handle a convention that large, with NRA’s room and space requirements, that also don’t have issues with carry. NRA’s alternative would be to always have the convention in Pittsburgh, Louisville, Houston and Phoenix. That would be great for people who carry, but would kind of suck for people who would never get to go because there was never any venue that was good enough.
I would also consider that the amount of money NRA brings to an area is not an inconsiderable incentive to improve laws in an area. Governor Jan Brewer, at the Phoenix Convention, announced support for cleaning up the restaurant carry situation while we were in Phoenix, and it wasn’t that long after we left that we had a fix. If we go back to Phoenix, that’s going to be nice not to have to deal with having to run back to the hotel to dump off a gun because you go to a place for lunch that serves alcohol, even if you don’t plan on drinking. I’m not saying we’ll be able to repeat that performance with North Carolina, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. If politicians are impressed enough with the amount of money we bring into the region, and the positive publicity we get for their convention center (a favorite pork project of state level pols everywhere), they just might come asking what they have to do to get us to come back.
Just some things to keep in mind before getting angry about the situation. Nobody really likes it, but choices are limited, and someone is going to end up getting stiffed one way or another, no matter which direction you go.