An upcoming National Rifle Association convention in Nashville will have everything: 70,000 guests, 400 firearm exhibitors and even shameless racist Ted Nugent. Everything, that is, except for working firearms.
The Tennessean reports that all firearms on display at the NRA event this weekend will be required to be "nonoperational," with the "firing pins removed." Gun owners "with the proper carry permits can bring their guns into the center during the convention," but they will be unable to take their weapons into Bridgestone Arena for the convention's speaking and musical slots, according the venue's guidelines.
Apparently, the event's organizers don't feel that the event would be safe with a bunch of working guns, despite the fact that the NRA regularly argues that "an armed society is a polite society" and "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." Instead of Average Joe-style good guys with guns, the NRA is paying $200,000 extra for professional security.
It's almost as though the NRA chose a venue that thinks a bunch of live guns in one place could be extremely dangerous.
The gun-rights crowd has some screwed-up priorities: Funnily enough, the NRA that doesn't want its convention to have live firearms is the same NRA that believes guns should be legal to carry in churches, parks, schools and hospitals.
Last year, NRA spokesman Billy Johnson suggested the United States do away with "gun-free zones" and implement "gun-required zones," with schoolchildren required to demonstrate firearms proficiency even "if they didn't want to learn."
In state legislatures across the country, fans of firearms are trying to implement laws that prioritize gun rights above other petty concerns like public safety.
In Tennessee, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill making it illegal to carry a water gun within 150 feet of a school, but not real ones. In Ohio, representatives are trying to lift all permit and training restrictions on the right to carry a concealed firearm. In Pennsylvania, the NRA is suing local governments to throw out their firearms laws, part of a deliberate effort to choke municipalities and cities that aren't firearm-friendly in legal fees. The NRA is also backing a federal law that would make gun permits issued in any state valid in any other, which would ensure a rush to the bottom on firearms regulations.
But more guns doesn't make people safer: According to NRA rhetoric, there's nothing safer than being around tons of people with guns. In reality, people are regularly shot and hurt or even killed at gun shows by live firearms. Apparently the NRA doesn't want to be held liable if that happens, despite the fact that Johnson regularly decries things like "the assumption that we need to protect people from guns" or the notion "that guns are bad or dangerous."
The NRA's talking points simply doesn't line up with reality. Gun ownership has been linked to everything from increased risk of being a homicide or suicide victim to overly aggressive behavior by gun-toting drivers. Its expansive view of the Second Amendment puts us all at risk.
April 10, 2015, 8:56 a.m.: This post has been updated to clarify that many of the gun restrictions placed on the NRA event are due to venue rules, not NRA policy changes.