Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association’s 2018 convention in Dallas on May 4. However, in a surprising twist, gun owners eager to attend the event will be barred from bringing firearms to the event.
While the startling announcement from the organization is igniting criticism from both members and gun control advocates, the NRA says the U.S. Secret Service is enforcing the firearms ban. They are not allowing any type of weapon, gun parts, drones, or ammunition while Pence is in the room.
Per a report from the Washington Post, the NRA gun prohibition only applies to the Pence speech. Carrying firearms will be permitted in the convention center and hotel. Still, gun-toting attendees must comply with federal, state, and local laws while attending the meeting.
Although the NRA claims the prohibition complies with Secret Security standard protocol, some gun control advocates, specifically several students from Parkland, Florida, are calling the ban hypocritical.
“You’re telling me to make the VP safe there aren’t any weapons around, but when it comes to children they want guns everywhere? Can someone explain this to me?” said Matt Deitsch, a Parkland school graduate and strategist for the March for Our Lives protest. “Because it sounds like the NRA wants to protect people who help them sell guns, not kids.”
Another student, Cameron Kasky called the pro-gun group “a hilarious parody of itself.” David Hogg also weighed in by requesting Vice President Pence to cancel the NRA event.
Gun enthusiasts were equally vocal about the NRA’s ban on weapons.
“Obviously even Republicans and so called leaders don’t trust the ‘good guys.’ I realize it’s the VP, but still makes our whole argument look foolish,” wrote one self-identified NRA member on a message board for gun owners.
“I won’t be going anywhere that I can’t carry my firearm. It’s essentially the nations largest get together for gun owners and they won’t let law abiding legal gun owners carry guns because someone who’s supposedly pro 2A thinks it’s too ‘dangerous’?” wrote another NRA member.
The NRA gun ban announcement notes no storage for weapons will be provided. Yet, complimentary knife storage will be made available by Knife Rights, a knife support organization.
The 2018 convention of the NRA will take place from May 3 to 6. Predicted to “the biggest Annual Meeting” to date, the event is expected to bring over 80,000 people to the Dallas area. Last year when President Trump spoke to NRA members in Atlanta, guns were similarly banned by the organization.