The Latest: NRA members attend annual convention

The Latest: NRA members attend annual convention
The Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) — The Latest on the annual meeting in Dallas of the National Rifle Association (all times local):

1 p.m.

Those attending the National Rifle Association say it’s a chance for them to talk to like-minded people and learn about new products.

Seventy-one-year-old Lyndie Goggans of Paris, Tennessee, said Friday morning that she and her husband have been coming to the annual meetings for about 15 years. Goggans says she attends the meetings to see what new guns are available and visit with friends who also attend.

An estimated 70,000 people are expected to attend the convention that started Friday in Dallas.

Christopher Daniel of Columbus, Ohio, came to the meeting with his brother. Both men served in the military. Daniel teaches middle school.

Daniel, who is black, said there may be a misconception that the NRA is only for older white men. Daniel says, “It’s for everyone who believes in their constitutional rights.”

President Donald Trump is among those scheduled to speak at the event Friday afternoon.


12:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the National Rifle Association is a “great organization that loves this country.”

Trump spoke to reporters Friday aboard Air Force One as he flew to Dallas to address the organization’s annual convention for the fourth consecutive time.

Trump’s appearance comes after he temporarily strayed from NRA dogma opposing stronger gun control after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year — only to return to the fold.

Trump also said he has a “record crowd” attending the convention. The forum where he is speaking is sold out, with a capacity of about 8,000 people.

The NRA won’t have exact figures on how many people attend the convention until later. Spokesman Jason Brown says its estimate of more than 70,000 people is based on a variety of factors. The record is 86,000 in Houston in 2013.

The event is also drawing protests, including by those who lost loved ones to gun violence.


11:45 a.m.

For some people attending the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting, President Donald Trump is the main draw.

Jesse and Patricia Hopper, both wearing Make America Great Again hats, traveled from a small town in West Texas to attend the NRA meeting Friday.

The Hoppers, who live in Ballinger, said Friday morning that they became NRA members so they could attend the meeting, their first, and see Trump. Jesse Hopper says he agrees with NRA policies.

Sixty-five-year-old Patricia Hopper, who was wearing a T-shirt with Trump’s face on it, said she’d been wanting to see the president “ever since we voted for him” and she added that her husband “likes guns.”

Sixty-six-year-old Jesse Hopper believes Trump “says what he thinks and he carries through with his promises.”


11:15 p.m.

More than 70,000 National Rifle Association members are expected in Dallas for the group’s annual meeting, which will feature an appearance by President Donald Trump.

The event is also drawing protests, including by those who have lost loved ones to gun violence.

Trump will be making his fourth consecutive visit to the NRA meeting when he speaks Friday at the leadership forum. He’ll be joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.

Those attending the meeting that runs through Saturday will listen to political speeches, check out the latest firearms, attend gun training courses and socialize.

NRA officials Wayne LaPierre, Chris Cox and Dana Loesch will be among those speaking Friday.