NRA 2015: Day One Notes and Quotes
Music City Center, Nashville, Tenn.
(Jeff Phillips photo)
By: Lynn Burkhead, OutdoorChannel.com
On Friday morning, Nashville opened its arms and welcomed the 144th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits to the downtown region of the famed Music City.
With well more than 500 vendors exhibiting their wares and services not far from country music's Grand Old Opry, the NRA (www.nra.org) expects that more than 70,000 people will visit the convention this weekend as it makes its April 10-12 run.
Here are some of the sights, sounds and personalities that caught our attention during Friday's opening bell for the three-day NRA event:
Parade of Politicians Back Second Amendment, Promise Fight for White House
As the weekend that Hillary Clinton is expected to announce her 2016 presidential run arrives, numerous speakers and politicians gathered in Nashville on Friday to support the Second Amendment and to challenge the policies and political beliefs of the current Presidential administration while promising a stern challenge for the White House.
Many of those who spoke on Friday at the NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action) Leadership Forum have their own intentions towards a potential Presidential run in 2016.
Speakers at the event included Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Florida Senator Marco Rubio; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; billionaire businessman Donald Trump; South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Texas Senator Ted Cruz; former Texas Gov. Rick Perry; former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum; and renowned neurosurgeon and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Dr. Ben Carson.
"Freedom isn't free," said Carson, a possible 2016 Presidential candidate, as he spoke to the crowd. "You have to fight for that every day."
"The Founders knew what they were doing," added Jindal. "They had seen religious persecution first hand. They had proven that a well-armed citizenry is all that stands between freedom and a tyrant. They knew that it was impossible to build a society that was truly free without the right to speak … the right to worship … and the right to bear arms."
Huckabee detailed his personal gun ownership that began as a child with a Daisy BB gun before he eventually graduated to shotguns and rifles as he grew older.
"I still have all of those guns, every one of them," said Huckabee. "You couldn't take them from me even if you were trying to pry them from my cold, dead hands."
While a number of hunting and shooting industry celebrities and NRA officials - including NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre and NRA-ILA executive director Chris Cox - will speak the remainder of the weekend, the speeches on Friday carried a heavyweight feel as supporters of the NRA and the Second Amendment roared their applause over and over again.
Remington Dedicates Booth for Female Shooters and Hunters
As the NRA convention takes place this weekend in the Music City, Remington (www.remington.com) has created a dedicated booth that is staffed by women to showcase the company's products for female shooters and hunters.
"I am excited to share with others our Company's passion for supporting females who choose to live the outdoor lifestyle," said Jessica Kallam, Remington Outdoor Company (ROC) manger of media relations and female initiatives.
"The NRA Show is the perfect opportunity for female hunters and shooters to see our product offerings, give us their feedback, and share their experiences."
GLOCK Unveils New Conceal Carry 9mm G43 Pistol
On Friday's first day at the 144th NRA Annual Meetings, GLOCK, Inc. (http://us.glock.com) unveiled the company's highly anticipated GLOCK 43 handgun.
A single-stack, slim-line 9 mm pistol able to shoot a wide variety of ammunition from 64 grain to 147 grain bullets, the G43 pistol has been a big buzz item in the industry in recent weeks, particularly among those interested in concealed carry.
With a trigger travel distance of 2.6 inches, a slide width of less than an inch and an overall frame width of just more than one inch, the 6.26-inch long pistol is one of the headline items being rolled out this weekend in Nashville.
Bone Collector ORCA Coolers Announced
ORCA Coolers and Outdoor Channel television personality Michael Waddell have teamed up to unveil the officially licensed Bone Collector cooler at this weekend's NRA Convention.
Available in 26-quart and 75-quart sizes, the ORCA coolers (www.orcacoolers.com)
feature Bone Collector (www.bonecollector.com) colors, logos and tags for cargo nets.
"Bone Collector is a major player in the hunting and outdoor world, and we couldn't be more excited to be able to partner with such a huge brand," said Ashleigh Walker, VP of Marketing for ORCA.
Waddell will be at the ORCA booth (#FF33) at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 11 in Nashville to help launch the new cooler series, to meet fans and to sign autographs.
Beretta Sponsors NRA's "Freedom Festival"
As the 2015 NRA convention takes place in downtown Nashville this weekend, the first ever "Freedom Festival" is being held on Broadway street just outside the Music City Center.
As the presenting sponsor of the festival, Beretta (www.beretta.com) is offering convention attendees the chance to visit showrooms and a virtual shooting range to handle, inspect and ask questions about a variety of firearms including the new Beretta M9A3 pistol.
"We are very excited to have a special role at this year's NRA meeting and exhibit, especially since it is being held in Tennessee," said Ryan Muety, VP of sales and marketing for Beretta USA.
"As the sponsor of Freedom Festival, which is free and open to the public, we have an even greater presence at the show and more opportunities for interaction with our brand for both convention goers and those who happen to be visiting or working in Nashville this week."
In addition to the above attractions, a variety of musical performances will take place at the "Freedom Festival". The hours that such musical performances will be occurring is from 10 am to 5 pm daily.
Gen. George S. Patton's M1 Garand on Display
Dubbed the "greatest battle implement ever devised" by none other than General George S. Patton, a special-built M1 Garand is on display this weekend in a velvet lined display case at the Winchester Repeating Arms (www.winchesterguns.com) booth (#2125).
Built in 1941 with the serial number of #02828, this special-made gun was presented to Patton himself and is on display in Nashville this weekend courtesy of the Cody Firearms Museum.
Patton's M1 Garand display this weekend recalls the gun's combat effectiveness during both World War II military operations and battles during the Korean Conflict.
With more than five million Garand's made, the gun was the invention of John C. Garand and was a standard U.S. military weapon from 1936 to 1957 when the M14 arrived on the scene.
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