DALLAS – The NRA’s 147th annual convention starts here today. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to address the gathering on Friday; prominent protesters including actress Alyssa Milano are on the way as well.
“Everything’s so politically sensitive,” said Bruce Ross, who was among the vendors setting up on Wednesday at the enormous Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, where the event will be held. His booth sells books on hunting.
An estimated 80,000 people will attend the event, officially called The National Rifle Association Annual Meetings and Exhibits. Country star Travis Tritt of Marietta will join the legendary Charlie Daniels at a Saturday night concert where Daniels will perform “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
Meanwhile Milano, who entered Georgia politics for a time as an active campaigner during Jon Ossoff’s unsuccessful bid for a Congressional seat, will join activists including Women’s March executive advisor Kim Russell and Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was among the students shot at killed during a Feb. 14 shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school. Protesters plan “to fight for gun control and combat the NRA’s toxic influence over our political system,” a release said.
The protest site is a park less than a mile from the convention center.
Due to U.S. Secret Service policies, weapons aren’t allowed into the 10,000-seat hall where Trump, Pence and other leaders are scheduled to speak. Otherwise, there will be no lack of firepower as the convention, as with the 2017 event in Atlanta, boasts “15 acres of guns.”