INDIANAPOLIS – The NRA, coming off victories in its effort to curb Obama administration attempts to limit access to guns through enhanced background checks and support of Indiana’s approval of loaded guns on school property, claims America’s freedom to own guns is under attack like never before at its 143rd Annual Meetings & Exhibits at the Indiana Convention Center.
“This really is a do-or-die year for the NRA and for Second Amendment rights,” said NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen as she stood in the middle of the convention center floor while crews erected displays for the convention. The event is expected to attract approximately 70,000 visitors. “We think we have an unprecedented organization opposing us this year.”
Mortensen was speaking about former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his retooled “Everytown for Gun Safety” campaign aimed at reducing gun violence and matching the NRA dollar-for-dollar in its lobbying and organizing efforts.
“Michael Bloomberg has committed $50 million to just one election cycle,” said Mortensen. “He has a net worth of about $40 billion which he’s said he’s willing to put forth in this effort. We never faced anything like that before.”
The NRA has traditionally spent approximately $20 million a year in lobbying efforts from city halls and statehouses to the nation’s capitol.
“I mean, the NRA is small potatoes compared to Michael Bloomberg’s wealth,” claimed Mortensen.
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and Chief Lobbyist Chris Cox are expected to sound the rallying cry against their newly financed and emboldened foe during Saturday morning’s members only annual meeting at the convention center.
“Our freedom is under attack and we simply have no other option than to take action if we are to repel this attack,” reads the narrative description of the NHR-ILA Grassroots Workshop: Stand and Fight in the 2014 Elections. “This is the time to prepare for the inevitable battles we will face in the future.”
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and U.S. Senator Dan Coats, among others, will be featured speakers at the NRA’s Leadership Forum at 1 p.m. The forum is billed as “a critical campaign stop for any serious contenders for the White House.”
The New York Times lists battleground states such as Indiana that could be ripe for outreach by Bloomberg’s new campaign.
Mortensen said the NRA has been planning to bring its 2014 annual convention to Indianapolis for four years.
“You can go a four-hour drive in any direction from the city and reach about one million of NRA’s five million members so we have a great base to draw from.”
The NRA will spend an estimated $55 million in the city, making it one of the biggest conventions Indianapolis has ever hosted.
IndyVisit spokesman Chris Gahl told FOX59 News that while convention organizers have an option of banning firearms from the convention center during their stay, NRA members will be allowed to carry guns on the site as long as they are properly permitted and licensed.
The convention begins Friday morning and continues through Sunday night featuring a book signing on the closing day by rock legend and Second Amendment advocate Ted Nugent.
For more about the event and what it offers, visit the NRA Annual Meeting website.