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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 5/18/2001 7:22:30 PM EST
http://www.cnn.com/2001/US/05/18/guns.nra.reut/index.html NRA meeting gets under way May 18, 2001 Posted: 5:04 PM EDT (2104 GMT) KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) -- A fireworks display, a humanStatue of Liberty to greet guests and a show of rousing support forGeorge W. Bush's ascent to the White House marked the openingcelebration Friday of the National Rifle Association's 130th annualmeeting and convention. "We have a whole lot to celebrate. Gore's gone. Clinton's gone,"said NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, sparking wild applause, whistles andcheers among the gun enthusiasts attending the opening ceremonies."Let's celebrate this great freedom." Approximately 40,000 NRA members were attending the three-dayconvention, which runs through Sunday. Participants included some dressed in cowboy gear, others inbusiness suits and some in military-style camouflage. Participantsranged from the very young to the elderly; men, women and childrenall roaming through thousands of firearm exhibits and booths bearinggun rights materials. "When guns are outlawed, the people will be outlaws," read a bumpersticker on display. Nearby, a gray-haired housewife in a blue skirt and tennis shoesshouldered a shotgun and pretended to take aim. A young boy staredwide-eyed and grinning at a gun display. And an avid hunter fingereda steely long-barreled pistol. "This is the salt of the earth," said Colorado gun collector andadvocate Dennis Hankey. "This is about a lot more than guns. It'sabout the Constitution." According to the NRA, which claims about four million members, thereare 60 to 65 million gun owners in the U.S. and 200 million guns,including 65-70 million handguns. The NRA data says only a fraction, less than 1 percent, of thoseguns are used to commit violent crimes. 'Million Moms' to protest Gun control advocates believe greater restrictions are needed on gun sales and availability of guns to children. Many such opponents, including women affiliated with the "MillionMom" movement active in the gun control debate, are planning torally outside the downtown convention hall Saturday. "We are telling the NRA that they are unwelcome here," said JaneGirson, chapter organizer of the Johnson/Wyandotte County KansasMillion Mom March. The plans for protest outraged many attending the NRA convention. "I don't think any of those 'moms' knows anything about guns atall," said Ralph Yaple, a Missourian who hunts deer and turkey andbelieves U.S. military strength is reliant upon would-be soldierslearning skills with guns as they grow up. The business side of the NRA convention will take place on Saturdaywith a formal meeting of members, in which several legislativematters are likely to come up, according to NRA officials.
Link Posted: 5/18/2001 7:23:28 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/18/2001 7:22:23 PM EST by warlord]
These include discussion of President George Bush's proposal to increase federal spending on investigation and prosecution of guncrimes, which the NRA supports, as well as a bipartisan plan tostiffen background checks on firearms sales at gun shows, which theNRA opposes. On Saturday night, U.S. Secretary of Interior Gale Norton will be the keynote speaker at an NRA banquet. The NRA's close ties to the Bush Administration rankles opponents, but to NRA members, the ousting of former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore is a victory for freedom and individual rights. "You probably aren't going to find a more law-abiding group ofpeople than members of the National Rifle Association," said Hankey. Copyright 2001 Reuters. All rights reserved © 2001 Cable News Network LP, LLLP. An AOL Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved
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