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Trump Addresses NRA Members Today at the 148th Annual Meeting in Indianapolis


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Today President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence will attend the 148th meeting of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Indianapolis, Indiana.

President Trump is expected to address the group’s leadership forum for the third straight year since being elected to office. Mike Pence will say a few words prior to the president’s speech.

“Donald Trump is the most enthusiastic supporter of the Second Amendment to occupy the Oval Office in our lifetimes. It is truly an honor to have President Trump address NRA members for the fifth consecutive year,” said Chris Cox, NRA-ILA Executive Director. “President Trump’s Supreme Court appointments ensure that the Second Amendment will be respected for generations to come.  Our members are excited to hear him speak and thank him for his support for our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.”

NRA membership has been divided of late, mainly due to the number of mass shootings in the last few years. With messages from the group leaning farther right, some members who support additional gun legislation have been turned off. Membership is down for the second straight year, resulting in the organization taking out loans to maintain operations due to a sharp decrease in dues revenue. This despite raising due for the first time in a decade in 2016 and again in 2017.

Trump, who at last year’s meeting in Dallas supported arming teachers in the classroom, also supported the bump stock ban, which went into effect in March. So far attempts by the NRA to stop the ban have been unsuccessful in court. A bump stock is a device which can assist a semi-automatic weapon in firing more rapidly, somewhat mimicking an automatic weapon. It was used in the deadly Las Vegas mass shooting that resulted in the deaths of 58 people, and the injury of more than 400 others. Many say the ban will be difficult to enforce.

Trump’s support of the ban didn’t bother many of the attendees for this year’s convention, who insist the group remains as politically influential as ever despite decreased membership numbers.

“Why do you think Trump and Pence are coming here?” said Roger Frasz, a lifetime NRA member and gun shop owner in Prescott, Michigan, who was wearing a red “Trump 2020″ hat told .

It remains to be seen what message President Trump will address the crowd with today, but odds seem in favor of a kick off, or at least mention, of his 2020 bid for re-election. Trump is the sole Republican candidate so far, with 22 Democrats throwing their hats into the ring at this time.

Protesters are expected to gather at the convention center to protest against gun violence and for gun control.  “The only way we are going to get this down is by loud, sustained protests in the streets,” Kathleen Robertson, a gun control activist from Indianapolis, told WTHR-TV in Indianapolis.

Approximately 70,000 people are expected to attend the convention this year. Most of them are proud concealed carry license holders. Indiana recognizes the concealed carry licenses from all states.

Live broadcast of the speech is available through NPR.

Sarah Morton

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