St. Louis, NRA Annual Meeting, and Guns

This comes up every year at the NRA meeting, whether or not the facility allows carry. It was fine in Pittsburgh last year, illegal in Charlotte, legal in Phoenix (except for events with alcohol), legal in Louisville, and before that was St. Louis, where it’s just not allowed by the venue. John Richardson has a handy guide to St. Louis, and where you can and can’t carry.

I will note again, that there are only a handful of cities that can host NRA Annual Meeting. It is a huge event that moves around the country so members, at some point, have an opportunity to attend. It is very difficult to find venues in every corner of the country that allow carry, and can also host an event of this size. But every year, there’s a handful of people the complain. The alternative is to limit NRAAM only to certain areas of the country where the venues allow it, denying opportunity for people around the St. Louis area to ever attend. NRA’s formula is a high-density of NRA members within a 500 mile radius, when choosing a host city, in order to maximize the number of members who get to attend. St. Louis set a record last time we were there (which was beaten by Charlotte).

I get that a lot of folks get angry when the venues don’t allow carry, and sure, there are venues in some other city where it could be allowed, but that could translate into a dramatic drop in attendance, during an election year. How do you think the media would spin that?

8 thoughts on “St. Louis, NRA Annual Meeting, and Guns”

  1. Unless you are dealing with a government venue, why wouldn’t the NRA have enough clout to get a (temporary?) change in policy from the venue. The customer is always right.

    1. And actually, NRA did get the carry issue mostly fixed in Phoenix. The convention center had a license to serve alcohol, which made it a gun free zone under Arizona law… but they got the state to suspend the convention center’s liquor license for everything but the banquet (where alcohol was served). So the convention was carry friendly, except for the banquet. But not all cities are as accommodating as Phoenix was. I suspect Phoenix will be returned to before too long.

  2. I don’t see why we, as NRA members, should support any jurisdiction or business that does not respect our rights.
    A convention is a massive money maker for the local govt and business. If they can’t make an exception for convention attendees then we should take our convention (and Money) elsewhere.

  3. Building on Zermoid’s thought:

    To the fine folks who will be unable to attend a meeting locally because THEIR politicians make the local venue undesirable; get YOUR politicians to change the policy.

    A couple of, “Gee, we’d like to have our convention here, but you don’t care enough to get the laws changed so we will have it elsewhere until you do,” messages might be motivating. They could have said, “we love St Louis, we break records for attendance and bring in lots of money; and will be happy to bring our annual meeting back as soon as we’re allowed to carry in the venue.” Where’s St Louis’ motivation to change their law? They’re getting the booking, they’re getting the money, the local hotels and eateries are getting the business; why would they change?

    I mean if they’re just going to cave in and put the thing where something that’s very important to the gun community is banned, why not go all in and have the thing in LA or Chicago or NYC or San Fran…?

    Couching your compromising of principles in an egalitarianism is still compromising your principles.

  4. I’m going to take the opposite position of Zermoid’s and McThag’s: that perhaps those places that ban concealed carry need the NRA more than those that allow it.

    Looking at things with this angle, I would imagine that you would have workshops that would discuss the organization of local grass-roots efforts to change laws; you would invite politicians, reporters, and community leaders to attend the event, and perhaps even for an hour at the range, to show them that NRA folk are actually surprisingly friendly, for being “monsters”; and you would encourage NRA members to patronize the businesses, and let them know why everyone is excited to be there.

    Of course, these two approaches aren’t entirely mutually incompatible, either. After a visit or two, the NRA could easily say, “It’s a pity that you have these anti-gun-rights laws in your city/state/whatever. We had a blast visiting, but these laws make us a bit uncomfortable…it would be a shame if we delay coming back, because of these silly laws!”

    1. NRA does host a grassroots workshop that focuses on directing action for change during election years and during legislative battles at every Annual Meeting.

      The rest – organizing a range event and all that – it’s too much to do in one weekend. Plus, you’re then talking about getting people off site assuming there’s a facility that could even handle a portion of the crowd in the region. I don’t know if you have been to an Annual Meeting, but you’re talking about 60-70,000 people in one building in only 3 days. It’s insanity to even have everything they do have on site.

      They also have punished cities that suddenly passed gun control laws in advance of the meeting. The reason St. Louis is a fairly soon repeat (from 2007) is because Gov. Blunt’s office realized NRA was looking to pull out of Ohio and offered up the city. IIRC, his office actually did a press release or something along those lines about inviting the NRA to come to St. Louis since Columbus wanted to pass gun control laws in advance of the meeting. (In addition to pulling the many millions of dollars in tourism money out of Columbus, NRA then worked with the legislature to pass stronger preemption in Ohio so they can’t pull those stunts again.)

      You are correct that these two approaches aren’t incompatible. By going to these cities and not causing problems, we create the evidence to support our positions.

  5. Folks,
    I strongly believe & urge for those that are not CCW friendly there be something for them to think about. Attention Legislators! If I attend an event and upon departing or enroute home, I am mugged because I was unable to defend myself, I feel one can charge that event site for any injuries that I incur providing I’m still alive. In this case, not the NRA but Edward Jones.

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