The National Rifle Association expects up to 60,000 people at its annual convention starting April 15 in Houston. Executive vice president Wayne LaPierre told the Houston Chronicle that the attendance estimate was up 50 percent. Attractions include an exhibition hall with “five acres of guns and gear,” seminars on hunting, personal protection, and political issues; and a keynote address by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
LaPierre called the recent school shooting in Red Lake, Mn. “a horrible, tragic event” but said he foresees no effect on the NRA convention. NRA First Vice President Sandra Froman told the Associated Press last week, “I’m not saying that that means every teacher should have a gun or not, but what I am saying is we need to look at all the options at what will truly protect the students.” The NRA is not backing national legislation to arm teachers, LaPierre said, noting that the group supports the federal Gun Free School Zones Act. The law keeps guns out of schools with exceptions for security, firing ranges, groups such as the 4-H and other lawful reasons. If “some school somewhere” wanted to arm a teacher, LaPierre added, the NRA would not object.