Today was the day that everyone came for. It was part revival meeting, part cheerleading session. It was the NRA doing what the NRA does best.
The day started for me at 8 a.m. at the Firearms Law Seminar at the Hyatt. This is an annual event that the NRA has for firearms-interested lawyers and it provides Continuing Legal Education credit for the attendees. It began with an excellent summary by Professor O’Shea of the current state of Constitutional Law. This alone was worth the price of admission. O’Shea contextualized things very well, and provided insights that were useful. And, there were lots of lawyers present.
Professor Goldstein took over next discussing the Fourth Amendment and Justice Gorsuch’s jurisprudence. Again, it was an opportunity to learn something about an area of law where I seldom practice. The materials were given out on jump drives. It was a great start to a very busy day.
The Convention Center
It rained this morning in Dallas, and so I took the bus back to the Convention Center. At the center I found this rather interesting balloon sculpture.
Of note, the US Border Patrol was there recruiting NRA members, which ought to tell you something about whose opinions they value. In addition, there were lots of other vendors and groups outside the exhibit hall offering different items. And of course, the NRA Store remained open (which was a good thing: I had to buy a sweatshirt to keep the rain off me while I put my pistol in the car).
The Massive Protest Demonstration …..(not)
Of course, no NRA meeting would be complete without the hell hounds from Mom’s Demand around to protest. I can’t wait to see the coverage tomorrow because the protesters were less than impressive. At the opening of the meeting this is the HUGE group of protesters that was in place:
Yep, that’s right, four of them. The protesters kept switching signs. And when I would get up close enough to them to take a photo (and could avoid the police who were trying to keep things civil), the cowards would put their signs up over their face. This leads me to believe that the protesters were probably paid temp workers hired by Bloomberg’s Moneybags Demand group being PAID to protest. Even these employees wanted no part of their actions!
The Leadership Forum
I got in line for the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at 11 a.m, knowing that we’d have to clear security to get to see the President and Vice President. I met a great guy named Randy and we walked in line together about half a mile from where the line started to the point where we were being admitted to the Arena. I had come prepared with a wallet and camera and nothing else. I cleared security easily. Lots of people with keychain pocketknives did not. The line, by the way, was massive.
We got in about 11:40, and the NRA videos were already playing. Every time I see Dana, Bongino, Stinchfield, and Noir take their rhetoric right up the ass of the liberal cowards, I am reminded of what my dues to the NRA actually buy: a voice that cannot, will not be silenced. A voice for truth.
Lt. Col. Oliver North gave the invocation (he is always terrific) and the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem followed. It always chokes me up to hear those words, and the singer was lovely. It made my heart swell with American Pride to hear those words done so artfully.
Chris Cox then get things started with a bit of a cheering session. He announced that for the first time in 147 years the NRA had both the sitting vice president and the president at its annual meeting. Cox then called out Stephen Willeford, the hero of Sutherland Springs, and asked him to speak. His message was simple: I did no more than what any one of you would have done. I ran toward trouble because I’m a sheepdog. Be sheepdogs! He then thanked his Shepard (Jesus Christ) for protecting him that day. The NRA gave him both a Texas Stock Certificate as well as a Life Membership to the NRA. It was nicely done.
Of the politicians, Pence spoke first, and revealed something I did not know: he is a card-carrying member of the NRA. That impressed me. He gave a rousing speech that also impressed me. He talked about visiting with the families of Sutherland Springs in the days and hours after the tragedy, and how their firm belief in God and faith in each other brought a perspective of hope to him and his wife, Karen. He spoke about the need to protect schools with real security, not security that makes us feel like we’re doing something. He talked about the need to stop violent video games and the rampant disrespect for human life that permeates games that reward killing. He talked about the need to protect the unborn. Pence was the leader of the revival meeting. He left me feeling good about the office of head of state. It is my firm hope that he follows President Trump to the Oval Office in 2024. And not before!
Then it was time to bring out the master showman.
Mr. Trump walked on stage to raucous applause. The building practically shook with the love being thrown out by all those in attendance. His words did not disappoint. He was flamboyant, direct, colorful, and funny as hell at points. He lampooned everyone from Hillary to John Kerry, whom he described as someone who should never have entered a bike race at 73. He promised to build the Wall. He promised to get tough on immigration. He again assured us our gun rights were safe, and then ended with saying that we needed to help ensure that we keep Republicans in Congress if we want to see that agenda move forward. It was a call to action, and I am pretty sure that all of us in attendance knew we needed to invest both time and money on the mid-terms.
Other speakers followed, including Wayne LaPierre and Dana Loesch. They were all good, all motivational, all directly on point. I did not stay for most of them because I wanted to get to the Exhibit Hall. And Wow! What an exhibit hall!
One of the things that really amazes me about folks who work in the firearms industry is how darned clever and innovative they are. In support of that I offer, as exhibit 1, the SnagMag spare ammo carrier.
The SnagMag hooks on the outside of your pocket while dropping into the well of your pocket. It is cleverly designed so that when you slide your index finger down the side of the magazine and pull up and back, a hook on the SnagMag grips your pocket, keeping the holder in the pocket, while your index finger pulls the magazine out and you are already indexed to the magazine for a magazine change.
This image with the circle shows the hook that “snags” the mag carrier on your pocket. It is an innovative design. And the president of the company asked me to pass along the code shown in the first photo above. People who go to the website (SnagMag.com) and purchase a SnagMag will get at 20% discount with that code.
Another company displaying their wares at the NRAAM is 1791, the holster company that makes premium leather holsters. The great thing about these holsters is not only are they good holsters that hold the most commonly available weapons, they’re sold by good people. Here is the IWB I purchased for my Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0 9 mm.
They unfortunately do not have a holster that fits the Sig P320RX with the Romeo sight, but then again, neither does Aliengear. I hope tomorrow to find a manufacturer that does support that weapon, and if so, will report here.
After a full day of browsing the Exhibit Hall, I found I had missed the larger part of the Exhibit Hall at the far other end of the Convention Center. I hope to be able to bring you finds from there tomorrow.
Good night America. Sleep well. Freedom is in the hands of the NRA, and we never sleep.