The National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Atlanta on April 28 expects to welcome President Donald Trump, members of Congress, governors, and pro-gun state officials.
Since the NRA announced that President Trump would speak at the event over the weekedn, interest in attending the convention spiked among its members, the press, and public officials. A U.S. president has not addressed the NRA at their annual meeting since Reagan’s speech to the organization in 1983.
According to the NRA, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue, Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott, Louisiana Republican Rep. Clay Higgins, and retired Lt. Col. Allen West are all confirmed by the NRA to attend the meeting.
Trump’s April 28 appearance at the NRA’s Leadership Forum is expected to bring in 80,000 people and hundreds of exhibitors to the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta.
President Trump has already rolled back several Obama-era gun control regulations, including directing his agencies to narrow the definition of “fugitive,” which lessens the number of people included on a database that lists individuals who cannot own a firearm.
Federal officials also hinted that they may no longer defend the Army Corps of Engineers’ prohibition on carrying loaded firearms and ammunition on federal lands.
Trump also signed a bill that did away with an Obama-era regulation that mandated the government to include on the gun ownership prohibition list individuals the Social Security Administration concluded to be eligible for mental disability payments.
“Ultimately you judge a politician on whether he or she keeps their promises that they made during the campaign,” said Chris Cox, Executive Director for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, the organization’s lobbying arm. “NRA members and supporters across this country are very pleased with what we’ve seen out of this administration so far. But there is still a lot of work to do.”
On Zinke’s first day as interior secretary, he canceled a ban on shooting of lead ammunition on federal lands, an Obama era regulation motivated by some to think that the lead could be ingested by birds. Additionally, he instructed all agencies that manage federal lands to find areas where hunting could be expanded.
The conference will also feature a concert by country singer Hank Williams Jr., speeches on firearms history and marksmanship, and political activist training.
Gun control activists, including Moms Demand Action for Gunsense, are expected to protest the convention as well in downtown Atlanta.
The NRA has told attendees that “lawfully carried firearms” will be allowed in the conference, but that guns are not allowed in surrounding areas.