Anti-gunners love to make hay over little things. For example, take the Secret Service’s requirement that the rooms where President Trump and Vice President Pence were speaking be gun free zones. Plenty of folks latched onto that to try and claim the NRA was a bunch of hypocrites.
After all, they argued, isn’t it a little hypocritical to not allow guns at the NRA’s annual shindig?
Only, that wasn’t the reality. The only places that guns were off limits were the halls where the president and vice president were speaking. The rest of the convention’s facilities had plenty of people carrying firearms, and the Washington Free Beacon‘s Stephen Gutowski took his gun to prove it.
Last week the National Rifle Association had its 147th annual meeting in Dallas, and I legally carried my gun throughout the event.
This shouldn’t be particularly newsworthy since everything I did was perfectly legal—I never had to draw my firearm, and there were likely hundreds or thousands of other people there carrying guns. So many major media outlets, however, misreported the rules for gun carry at the convention that I felt compelled to set the record straight not just by words but by deeds. So, that’s exactly what I did.
Some outlets were so far off that they claimed the NRA had banned guns at their convention. “NRA faces backlash for banning guns at NRA convention,” The Hill initially wrote. That, of course, wasn’t remotely true.
I carried my gun at the convention on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The NRA had no policy against this whatsoever, even on the day that President Trump and Vice President Pence spoke at the convention. That might surprise you as a flood of media reports outright said they did.
“NRA bans guns at President Trump, VP Pence speeches during it’s [sic] annual meeting in Dallas,” the Associated Press originally reported. “The NRA just banned guns at an upcoming Pence speech and now Parkland students are crying hypocrisy,” CBS News tweeted. “Parkland students criticize NRA for banning guns at upcoming Pence event,” Politico said.
The reality is that the vast majority of the 2,000,000-square-foot Kay Baily Hutchison Convention Center was still accessible to me on the day of Trump and Pence’s speeches—even during their speeches. The arena where the two spoke was the only area off-limits to civilians carrying guns. It wasn’t, however, the NRA making the call on that policy, despite the media claims. It was the Secret Service.
Look, everyone wants to find a chink in their opponent’s armor, and hypocrisy is a damn good one. After all, if you believe this stuff, why wouldn’t you play by that set of rules?
Some on social media have asked gun rights advocates what the president would have to fear from law-abiding gun owners, still trying to sniff at that chink in the armor. The thing is, President Trump would have nothing to worry about from us. Neither would President Obama, despite most of us opposing almost everything he stood for.
But the Secret Service doesn’t have time to differentiate between a lawful gun owner and a deadly assassin, so they remove all guns except theirs from the president’s location. I’m sure they’d rather he not attend NRA functions for just that reason.
That’s not our call, though. If we had our way, the president wouldn’t have been protected just by the Secret Service, but by the thousands who attended his speech as well.
The NRA’s hypocrisy on this is non-existent. Maybe the Parkland kids will have better luck next time. I wouldn’t hold my breath on it, though.