No, The NRA Isn't Banning The Carry Of Guns At Its Convention

There’s an old saying that, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

Presently, there is a bit of fiction sweeping through the media and left wing blogs pointing out supposed hypocrisy by the National Rifle Association.

The best we can tell, the lie seems to have originated with a woman who has become an expert at making fools out of the mainstream media, Shannon Watts of Michael Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action.

Watts quoted some of an article in The Tennesseean by reporter Karen Grigsby that was factually accurate, if incomplete.

A multilevel security plan went into works not long after Nashville was chosen as the convention destination. All guns on the convention floor will be nonoperational, with the firing pins removed, and any guns purchased during the NRA convention will have to be picked up at a Federal Firearms License dealer, near where the purchaser lives, and will require a legal identification.

Watts then hinted that this amounted to a ban on guns—”The @NRA is all about #gunsense at their upcoming #Nashville convention”—and her hysterical followers and lazy media alike were both off to the races to claim that the National Rifle Association was being hypocritical.

Here’s an example of this fake outrage from Dan Friedman in the NY Daily News:

The National Rifle Association wants guns at schools, but not its own annual convention.

The NRA has banned working guns from its annual convention this year in Memphis, Tenn., according to a report in The Tennessean. Instead the group will require the thousands of firearms displayed at the event to be nonoperational, with their firing pins removed to ensure safety.

The group will use the event, with an expected attendance of 70,000, to boast of its opposition to gun regulation of all kinds, including background checks, as well as to host GOP presidential hopefuls who agree with their stance.

It would be stunning hypocrisy if the NRA was banning working guns… but it simply isn’t true, a fact that Watts knows from last year’s NRA convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Watts is  suggesting that the NRA is putting additional restrictions on gun owners, which simply isn’t true.

The National Rifle Association holds an annual meeting every year in a different host city, and requires that attendees follow the federal, state, and local laws applicable in that city, like every major convention of every significant national group, ever.

This year in Tennessee, that means that attendees can indeed carry firearms in the Music City Center with the proper license in accordance with Tennessee law. Bridgestone Arena prohibits the possession of firearms, and always has. Attendees to the concerts held there are not allowed to carry weapons according to these pre-existing laws. Is it really news that the NRA asks members to follow laws?

The only guns to have their firing pins removed are the display guns put up by the vendors, not the self-defense weapons of attendees. It is a common safety practice at every sporting goods show or convention for firing pins to be absent from weapon displays being handled by thousands of people. Don’t quote me on this, but I seem to recall that this is an insurance requirement.

As for gun sales at the convention, they are simply following—once again—federal and state laws on the purchase and possession of firearms. Vendors typically only bring representative display firearms to large outdoor shows like the NRA annual meetings, and attendees can order firearms that they like at the event. The vendors will take these orders, and then send the ordered firearms to the customer’s specified local gun dealer, at which point they will have a NICS background check and any additional local checks before the firearm is transferred to them.

The “news story” is that the National Rifle Association and it’s members are more concerned than most about following the law and being good, law-abiding citizens.

Shannon Watts has made fools out of the media, once again.

Sep 22, 2021 6:30 PM ET