NRA Convention opens Friday in Indianapolis
Thousands of gun enthusiasts converged on downtown Indianapolis for the show, including many Hoosiers.
"When we first heard it was gonna be in Indianapolis, we started making plans right away to make sure that we were gonna be free and be able to come to this," said Terre Mays of Auburn.
The meeting also attracted Shannon Watts of Zionsville. She founded Moms Demand Action, which has now merged with other groups to speak out against gun violence.
"It is no longer possible to ignore the truth that 86 Americans are killed every day in this country with guns," she said.
Tom Sullivan, from Aurora, CO, was among those in Watts' group. He lost his son Alex to gun violence.
"Alex was not in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was at the movies on his birthday, just where he wanted to be. His last message on Twitter to a friend was, 'OMG, this is going to be the best birthday ever.' His birthday lasted only 38 minutes," said Sullivan.
The NRA fired back at the Michael Bloomberg-funded organizations.
"Firearms in the hands of good people save lives," said NRA President Wayne LaPierre.
"It is absolutely awesome. It's not just the displays. It's the people. These are good American people and it's just awesome that in this country, we can come to something like this and be in the middle of like-minded people. And it's okay. It's awesome," said Terre Mays.One issue for the NRA is a renewed push for a law requiring all 50 states to recognize concealed carry gun permits from other states. The convention also will focus on politics as the organization maps out its strategy for this year's mid-term elections and 2016.
A leadership forum Friday featured Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Indiana Governor Mike Pence and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. All have been mentioned as possible GOP contenders for the White House in 2016.
Also, organizers expect to see a growing number of women taking part in the convention. In fact, NRA exhibitors and firearms instructors say it's a sign of the times that more women are carrying guns for protection.
Julie Webb is one of them.
"The only time I don't carry it is when I'm going somewhere where I'm legally not allowed to carry or at work," said Webb.
Indiana law says visitors to the convention can have their weapons with them if they have a gun permit from their home state.
The NRA Convention will be held through the weekend at the Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. It's expected to have an estimated economic impact of $55million for the city.
About two dozen gun control supporters gathered Thursday ahead of the NRA's convention. They asked for the organizations help lowering the city's homicide rate.
The Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence president says it's too easy for young people to get their hands on guns. He says kids are turning to guns to settle their disputes and the only answer is to keep guns off the streets.
Get convention info here