HOUSTON, TX. - If you’ve been to any of the National Rifle Association’s annual meetings, you’ll understand what I mean when I say the gathering is a true representation of what makes America exceptional.
This year, the NRA held its annual meetings and convention in Houston and was attended by more than 85,000 people. Last year it was held in St. Louis and the year before in Pittsburgh. Over the past few months, the NRA has seen their membership balloon and just last Friday, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre announced the organization has reached 5 million members.
The common thing that brings all of these people together is obviously a celebration of the Second Amendment and the guaranteed right embedded in our Constitution for the people to keep and bear arms without infringement, but there are many other common American values and themes found at the convention that are often overlooked.
Each year no matter the venue, the NRA convention center floor is an amazing example of capitalism as hundreds of companies show and sell thousands of different products. Major companies from Midway USA to Remington to Ruger are there in addition to smaller start ups who have been able to find a comfortable home in the firearms industry. The NRA advertises the convention as “acres and acres of gear,” something that isn’t possible without embracing the ideas of competition, the free market, choice and entrepreneurship.
The NRA annual meetings aren’t just about looking at all the new gear available on the convention floor. There are many seminars and speeches where people with both big and small voices can be heard. Only in America can you have speakers standing in front of a crowd of thousands to directly call out the President of the United States by name without persecution or punishment. Only in America do you see thousands of people peacefully standing up and saying ‘no’ to an infringement on their rights.
The National Rifle Association is the oldest civil rights organization in the United States and serves as one of the most important in the world. After all, without the Second Amendment, there is no First. Founded in 1871, the NRA has always promoted equality of rights for everyone.
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Katie Pavlich is the Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her latest book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, was published on July 8, 2014.