The only really noticeable change at this year’s National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting in Dallas was that it seemed more crowded than usual, even in a convention center with 650,000 square feet of exhibit space. This morning, the NRA confirmed a new record for attendance, 87,154 members. The previous record was 86,228 in Houston in 2013; most years the attendance is around 80,000.
Once again, there was no mass shooting, or any shooting at all, at the convention. We won’t know the crime statistics for a few weeks, but past cities have seen crime rates briefly dip during the convention.
There were protests, but no clashes between protestors and attendees. The New Yorker offered its usual Gorillas-In-The-Mist can-you-believe-people-really-live-this-way coverage.
There was a minor controversy when a nearby restaurant, Ellen’s, announced that some of the proceeds from customers that week would be donated to organizations “dedicated to implementing reasonable and effective gun regulations.” The NRA urged its members to boycott the establishment. I strolled by on Sunday, in the midday brunch period, and the restaurant didn’t seem to have trouble attracting customers; of course, it’s impossible to know if those were locals or what their views on gun control were.
If the gun debate is forever changed, you couldn’t tell in Dallas.