My First NRAAM

Hey folks! Blogging from my phone right now, so my apologies if this isn’t terribly polished. Earlier This year I attended my first SHOT Show and my first IWA, so I figured I might as well keep it up. Here I am in Atlanta for my very first time attending the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting and Exhibits. I had lots of notions swirling around in my head before I came; but now that I’m here, I am relieved to have some real experiences and fresh, first-hand impressions to replace the rumors and lore.

I must say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the quality, organization, and culture of this event so far. I had my assumptions about what I would encounter. I was right about some of it, but happily wrong about some of it too. The attendees are mostly older white men. No shock there. However, it’s still a little more diverse than I expected. I’ve seen a few black folks, Asian folks, and women. And by “a few” I mean somewhere between 5 and 10 black folks out of 70,000 people. Like I said, that’s more than I expected.

At the NRA meeting, two things stuck out. First, a very talented young singer painfully botched the words of the National Anthem. Poor thing was probably just nervous as hell in front if all those people, but I’m sure the media will have a field day with the irony if word gets out.

Second, at the meeting the leadership recognized the youngest and oldest NRA life members. The gentleman recognized as the oldest life member unexpectedly helped himself to the microphone. Through trembling hands and belabored speech, he told the assembled crowd that the NRA needs to work for the support of women and minorities. It was the LAST think I expected to come out of his nonagenarian mouth. The endless sea of Caucasian testosterone before him wasn’t sure how to react at first. I immediately began clapping. No idea who that guy was. But hey, hats off to you, sir. Thanks for the nod.

And speaking of black people, my goodness. Colion Noir. To be clear, I’m a fan. He’s smart. Articulate. Cool. Easy on the eyes, too. But good gracious, is there a shred of NRA promotional material anywhere on earth that doesn’t feature his face? The NRA is milking that dude for every ounce of melanin in his body. I’m glad they’ve got a few non-old, non-white, non-stereotypical poster-children now, but I hope they’ll continue to expand their PR campaign to feature lots of other folks too. They might have overcompensated for the previous stereotypes by swinging a full 180 degrees over into underwear model territory.

But I really do like Noir. 🙂

I’ve been pecking away at my phone for a while now, so I better pay attention to this seminar and not be rude. But before I go, I need to give a shout out. 

Kudos to Sean Sorrentino, Erin Palette, and the other Podcasters at the Gun Blog Variety Cast. I’ve been recording a segment for GBVC for about a year now. The whole time, I’ve been terrified that they would wake up one day and realize that I know nothing about podcasting or radio and my political views aren’t always 100% in lock step with the average hard core 2A advocate. And yet, they haven’t kicked me off the show yet. 

This weekend, the GBVC Crew rented a house for NRAAM. I’m crashing there, so I’ve gotten to know these folks more in the past two days than in the past year of working with them remotely on the podcast. So, Gun Blog Variety Cast crew, I just want to thank you for putting up with me. My schedule has been insane lately, so I don’t know how long I’ll be able to continue my segment. But for the time I’ve been there so far, they have always made me feel at home. And now that we’re literally sharing a house this weekend, that sentiment has come into even sharper focus for me.

For those who haven’t listened to the Gun Blog Variety Cast, I highly recommend that you check it out. New episodes drop every Sunday, and you can subscribe on iTunes. Do me a solid and check out the show. My segment is called “The Bridge,” but my favorite segment is called “This Week in Anti-Gun Nuttery.” It’s not only enlightening, it’s hilarious. More importantly, it’s objective. Yes, it pokes a little fun at the flawed reasoning that sometimes emerges from 2A opponents, but it does so with solid facts and logic, not with ad hominem attacks. So please check out that segment by a wonderful dude who goes by “Weer’d Beard.”

Til next time, here are a few pics I’ve snapped at the conference. I’ll try to post another update after the conference wraps up tomorrow. And again, apologies if these pics aren’t well formatted or cropped. My thumbs are tired.