This past weekend, the National Rifle Association held its annual convention in Houston, Texas. Around 70,000, pro-gun supporters turned out to see speakers like Bobby Jindal, Ted Nugent and Sarah Palin spread second amendment gospel.
But there was also tons of shopping. Gun owners always be shopping! A large part of the convention was taken up with gun shops shilling their wares to an uber-devoted customer base. And because this is America, land of opportunity, gun companies have begun pandering to a heretofore largely ignored population — female gun owners and supporters. In NRA terms, this means producing a bunch of pleasantly pink guns, accessories and clothing to show support for guns. The conference took place just one day after a man shot off an AR-15 rifle inside the Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport, in a thwarted suicide attempt (he was later killed by security). Glenn Beck told an audience at the NRA Convention that the man’s death was a set up by the progressive left. And it also took place on the 43rd anniversary of the Kent State Massacre, in which four unarmed students were killed and dozens maimed by the Ohio National Guard.
Since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, last December, there have been nearly 4,000 gun-related deaths. And yet! If you ask NRA executive vice president and de facto spokesperson Wayne LaPierre why, it’s because more people don’t have guns. “How many Bostonians wished they had a gun two weeks ago?” he remarked to the conference audience, clearly not understanding how bombs work.
And all this comes on the heels of the the NRA selecting Alabama Jim Porter as its new president. Porter proudly refers to the Civil War (remember that one?) as the “War of Northern Aggression” (“Now y’all might call it the Civil War, but we call it the ‘War of Northern Aggression’ down south,” he told the New York Rifle & Pistol Association’s Annual Meeting). He also called President Obama a “fake” president.
The good news? Conference attendance is down from last year’s record-breaking 73,740 attendees at 2012 convention in St. Louis, Missouri.