DALLAS – With his dad scheduled to speak at the 147th NRA convention shortly, Donald Trump Jr. took some time to stroll through the exhibit hall.
He’s friends with Hank Greenberg of Asheville, N.C.-based Marfione Custom Knives, so stopped by the booth to shop a little. Hank showed him a few pieces as they caught up.
Trump Jr. was accompanied by a security detail whose members kept a close eye on things as people happening by stopped in their tracks at the sight of the president’s son.
“Thanks for all you do, sir,” one guy said.
“Hey thanks, man,” Trump responded.
Then he set down his Diet Coke to pose for photos. He stayed long enough for employees to summon owner Anthony L. Marfione, who was thrilled with the visit. He sets up shop at NRA conventions annually.
“It’s a great organization with good intentions,” he said, stressing his support of the Second Amendment. “It’s the last line of defense we have. It’s what my grandfather fought for.”
Marfione’s forebears immigrated from Italy and his grandfather secured citizenship by serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he said.
Officials expect up to 80,000 attendees, and the cavernous Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center indeed fills packed.
Irene Bly, Cordie Foster and Terry Thompson are here with a group of friends from central California. Foster, who is attending her fourth convention, is learning to shoot with the help of her husband Bob Foster, who’s retired from law enforcement.
“We live in a rural area with a lot of wildlife,” she said. “I don’t want to get in between a mountain lion and my house, especially when my grandkids are there.”
Thompson is an accomplished sportswoman whose collection of guns includes many she’s won at competition, while Bly doesn’t shoot but said, “I believe in the NRA.”
All three were looking forward to hearing from President Donald Trump, who along with Vice President Mike Pence and NRA leaders is scheduled to speak shortly.
“He gives us hope,” Foster said. “I don’t like to feel weak.”