Guns banned from NRA event during Mike Pence address

There will be plenty of guns at the National Rifle Convention in Dallas this week, but one room will be completely free of weapons.

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The NRA announced gun owners, even those legally allowed to carry them, will not be allowed to carry guns or knives during Vice President Mike Pence’s address Friday at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Arena.

“Due to the attendance of the Vice President of the United States, the U.S. Secret Service will be responsible for event security at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum,” the NRA’s statement to attendees reads. “As a result, firearms and firearm accessories, knives or weapons of any kind will be prohibited in the forum prior to and during his attendance.”

In this April 27, 2017 file photo, an attendee passes by a large banner advertising a handgun during the National Rifle Association convention at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

In fact, everything from selfie sticks to laser pointers and toy guns will be banned from the arena during Friday’s keynote address.

The NRA also notes there will be no storage available for firearms.

Texas has more registered firearms than any other state, according to the Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The agency’s 2017 report shows there are 588,696 guns in the state. Texas also leads the country by a wide margin in number of licensed dealers, with 771, according to the ATF report from April 2017. Only one other state (Florida, 402) has more than 250 gun dealers.

Other politicians speaking before Pence include Rep. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a Infosys economic development announcement, Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Indianapolis.AP
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a Infosys economic development announcement, Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Indianapolis.

“It’s an honor to have Vice President Pence address our members in Dallas,” Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA, said in a statement. “He is a lifetime supporter of the Second Amendment and he has a long a record of fighting to defend our freedoms. Now more than ever we need principled people in public office who will fight to defend the Constitution.”

Pence was given an “A” rating by the NRA in 2003 while he was governor of Indiana. He was not one of the politicians rated on the NRA’s most-recent grades in 2010. Cornyn was also given an “A” in the same 2003 grades.

In Pence’s final State of the State address as Indiana governor in January 2016, seven months before he was named Donald Trump‘s running mate, he said, “Hoosiers know firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens … makes our communities more safe, not less safe. Indiana will always defend the right to keep and bear arms.”

The NRA’s Annual Meeting in Dallas begins May 3.