About 70,000 National Rifle Association members are gathering this week in St. Louis, five years after the group’s last meeting in that city, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Republican candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich all plan to pump their Second Amendment pedigrees during a forum Friday. Other speakers include NRA favorites Oliver North and Glenn Beck.
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam says the group is back so soon for three big reasons: St. Louis is centrally located, has enough hotel rooms and attractions, and hosted a successful event in 2007. The NRA won’t meet in some cities. “Chicago is a notoriously anti-gun city,” Arulanandam said. “We refuse to spend our tens of millions of dollars in places like that.” The NRA must contend with St. Louis’ prohibition against carrying concealed weapons into public buildings, including America’s Center, where the convention is being held. Gun-control advocates will hold a rally outside the convention on Saturday.