NRA bans guns at it’s convention, they say. For crying out loud, even Snopes, who often gets gun issues wrong or fails to grasp some nuance, has called this as the bullshit it was as far back as the Nashville convention. I don’t know if the Parkland kids are aware of this, because to be honest, they seem pretty ignorant, and the people handling them are unabashed liars when it comes to this kind of thing.
But for the benefit of those kids who probably don’t know better: The President and Vice President travel with heavy contingent of armed security. Their armed security, in the form of the Secret Service, insist on creating a security perimeter around the people under their protection. Within this perimeter, the Secret Service are the only people permitted to possess weapons. This is not NRA’s doing: when the President or Vice President come to speak to us, this is part of the deal. The Secret Service will insist on it.Â You can carry everywhere at the NRA Annual Meetings except where the Secret Service, State Law, or venue rules disallow it. I won’t attend events in venues that ban guns where the security is bullshit.Â Secret Service security isn’t bullshit. Is it perfect? No. But it’s reasonable given technological and sociological constraints.
Sadly, I can’t be at NRA Annual Meeting this year. But I have been in this security perimeter in past conventions. Since by default, they also protect me, I am somewhat OK with putting my personal security in the hands of the Secret Service when I have attended these kinds of events. I have noticed agents with bulges in their jackets that would indicate they are probably carrying a submachine gun. I can’t typically carry that kind of hardware, so I feel relatively sure these folks are capable of acting in my stead should the balloon go up in the vicinity. Also, everyone who enters the perimeter is screened. The venue is screened. Everything is screened. They meet two of my three S’s necessary for a hypothetical temporary constitutional disarm.
I don’t travel within a security perimeter everywhere I go, in ordinary life. Almost none of us who aren’t Important People do. Security is a luxury good. The richer and more powerful you are, the more of it you can afford.
Most of us live in the realm of no security, or security theater. There is a difference between this and real security. Mike Bloomberg might be able to afford armed security, and is probably even providing it for the Parkland Kids, but I and most other people I know can’t afford that kind of thing. Most security you see on a day to day basis is total bullshit and might as well not exist. I’ve been in situations where “security” went through Bitter’s purse, but missed the guy that was with her that walked in with a loaded gun. I don’t apologize. Your security is bullshit if that’s what the policy is. In fact, I’ve gotten so used to that bit of security theater I hardly sweat it when I realize that’s the situation. If you want to exclude weapons you need to work harder, because none of that is going to stop someone intent on hurting people. You know that. I know that. It might make people who don’t think feel better about the situation, but that doesn’t change it: your security is bullshit.
Thinking back, the last venue I can remember that banned guns was Charlotte, and NRA hasn’t been back there since. That was State Law at the time, and since then North Carolina has improved a great deal. I can’t remember the last time I was on the convention floor unarmed. So can we dispense with this piece of bullshit? No. I know we can’t. The lie is too useful. But it is a lie.