Things I’m Looking for at NRA Annual Meeting

NRA Houston 2013 Logo

Looking over the previous year’s posts, I’m always struck by the little things that stick out at the time of the NRA convention that otherwise get lost in the greater gun debate.

One of the common themes is that regardless of how much the media often tries to portray “the gun lobby” as some evil group of gun company fat cats, it’s not that at all. It’s people. It’s real gun owners like you and me. Even if NRA doesn’t always represent our exact views in every single issue debate in every legislature, it’s still an organization made up of pretty normal people who all have a voice and a role in the organization.

Randomly, here are a few things I’ll be looking for at this year’s annual meeting.

1) How many eligible voters received ballots this year versus last year. Eligible voters are those who have been members for 5 consecutive years or who are fully paid life members. Last year, 1,596,869 people met those standards. Given that the final date to join and receive a ballot was in January, this year could be very interesting. It will give us some clue as to how many people signed up for life during the early stages of the gun control push.

2) Whether foreign NRA members will be recognized during the quorum call at the member meeting. I know it’s random and rather minor, but it came up as a resolution last year by someone who actually joined while living in the UK and then eventually fled the country to live here where we actually respect his rights. However, it was a comment on the topic that was left by a reader that really struck me:

I’ve attended approximately fifteen NRA Annual Conventions over the past years including this year in Saint Louis. I was at the meeting when the resolution was presented and it made me feel, for the first time, that I was really a part of this great organization. I am a Benefactor Life Member living in Regina Saskatchewan, Canada and I am looking forward to Houston in 2013. A friend of mine from Regina was also in Saint Louis and he upgraded his membership from Patron to Benefactor while at the Convention. When we were in the NRA Store, we met an individual from Ontario, Canada who was working as an NRA Volunteer at the Convention.

That’s pretty awesome. Those are non-citizens helping do more for the community than some of our own folks here at home. I think that deserves a recognition in the quorum call.

3) Interesting non-gun products. Paul Erhardt laid out a pretty good explanation for why you aren’t seeing much development or new launches of guns at this year’s annual meeting.

Right now, because of the non-stop gun buying taking place most companies are focussed on meeting demand for existing products and have their shop floors running 24/7, leaving little room (make that no room) for production of a new product.

Sure, you’ll see some derivative products, like a new AR-style rifle or 1911, that don’t require changes in machinery or programming. A company making and selling the hell out of an AR can swiftly make changes to the gun’s features to create both a new product and, more importantly, a new price point…preferably one with a higher profit margin.

But the truly new products, the ones built from the ground up and not extensions of an existing product line, are likely to be absent from this year’s show.

Basically, we’re too busy buying everything they already make to warrant shifting resources to new launches. That makes sense. But, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t awesome stuff to see on the side aisles. That’s what I’ll be focusing on this year when I am on the floor.

4) Specifically in the non-gun category, innovative or decorative gun storage solutions. As I’ve noted on Pinterest several times, gun storage solutions are actually very popular pins on the heavily female social network. It’s not completely shocking since the initial users were heavily skewed toward the midwest, but it’s still amazing just how common such pins really are now that interest in the site is more diverse.

What other things did I miss? What little facts, debates, or products interest you this year?

11 thoughts on “Things I’m Looking for at NRA Annual Meeting”

    1. Because they pay attention?

      I don’t know what to say since Porter has been in line for the seat for four years now. It’s pretty open knowledge who has the leadership roles.

      Unless there is some kind of board uprising, you’ll always know who is up next based on the VP roles.

      1. Sorry-I’ve only been a member for about 4 years now and was unaware of how the succession took place. Follow up dumb question: Are there term limits?

        1. Not formally, but the board is extremely hesitant to allow more than 2 years. Even with as good a job as Keene has done in recent months, they are not up for giving him another year.

  1. “It’s people. It’s real gun owners like you and me.”

    When I checked out the lineup of guest speakers – with Glenn Beck being its crown jewel – it looked like someone was straining to make NRA members look like the stereotypes the left portrays them to be.

    How long until that becomes self-fulfilling?

    1. I would hope the NRA asks of these folks they get to speak, “what have you actually done for us to advance our rights?”

      In the case of Beck, he was invited to speak at NRA functions before so there’s precedent. I don’t know what he’s really done except bring more attention to what the NRA does.

      Ted Nugent has been a public gun rights celeb supporter for a while, though I fail to see what he’s done to further gun rights. I must admit that for a while he was good for a laugh for me when I was in college and first knew of the NRA from my CPAC trips.

      It’s a little different for politicians invited to speak. Obviously Ted Cruz is a great choice for all the right reasons.

      Rick Santorum? I don’t know. He voted against gun control in the Senate? He certainly didn’t seem to push any pro-gun legislation that I know of. That’s a pretty low standard.

      Palin has really done pretty much about as much as Glenn Beck unless someone can outline pro-gun things she had done as Governor. She’s a head scratcher. I sort of which she would just go away.

  2. I’d like to know why Remington sold us out.
    And why I should EVER buy their crap again.


    Of course, you’ll probably be the 2,643rd person to ask that in Houston….

  4. At the 2004 Convention, while being interviewed by the LA Times reporter (see other comment), I made it a point to inform him that nearly every single one of the 50,000+ attendees had paid his/her own way. We weren’t being subsidized by our union, company, professional association, or whatever. And nearly none of us could write off the expenses.

    The entire point being, we individuals were the “gun lobby”.

  5. I pray that you return with news that the ‘zombie’ trend has played out, been buried and unlike its namesake remains so..

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