PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The National Rifle Association’s 140th annual meeting opens today in downtown Pittsburgh at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
In the world of firearms and shooting sports, it is the biggest thing around and this weekend is the biggest show in Pittsburgh.
The convention is expected to draw thousands of people and generate more than $23 million for the local economy.
“We are expecting more than 70,000 people here this weekend,” said Rachel Parsons, the NRA spokesperson. “We are very excited to bring people to Pittsburgh. Hotels are filled up 20 miles outside the city.”
The National Rifle Association is holding its national convention for a second time in the city of Pittsburgh and they say it is for a very good reason.
“In a four-hour driving radius, there are more than one million NRA members,” said Parsons.
More than 400 exhibitors are in town for the event. Visitors can find some pretty interesting things there including pistols, parts of pistols and rifles.
“But it’s not just guns; you can come in and see sporting goods, accessories,” Parsons added. “If you want a new purse, if you want a new vest or a range bag, we have that for you too.”
There are also some specially-made firearms. For instance, there are pistols dedicated to the men and woman who have served our country in times of war.
“It covers everything from World War I to current in Iraq,” said Steve Faler, of American Legacy Firearms. “We actually had these pistols being used in Iraq with special ops.”
But as much as it is all about rifles and pistols, it’s about politics too.
“We’re going to have folks like Mike Huckabee, Oliver North, Ken Blackwell; Jason Altmire is going to be here,” said Parsons. “Pat Toomey will be here to speak.”
In addition, comedian Jeff Foxworthy and musician Ted Nugent will appear at the convention.
The convention begins tonight and runs through Sunday, May 1.