This week in Tennessee, where the National Rifle Association is hosting its annual convention, its hypocrisy will be on full display. While gun proliferation advocates continue to push open carry agendas across the country, “attendees can expect to find the usual NRA fare and exhibitors at the 350,000-square-foot Music City Center, but they shouldn’t expect to find functioning weapons. The Tennessean reports this week on the “multilevel security plan,” which includes an important safety measure: “All guns on the convention floor will be nonoperational, with the firing pins removed, and any guns purchased during the NRA convention will have to be picked up at a Federal Firearms License dealer, near where the purchaser lives, and will require a legal identification,” according to Rachel Maddow.
It’s common practice to make firearms nonoperational for a gun show. The NRA says it’s just following Tennessee law, which allows people with a permit to open carry and lets venues ban guns if they choose. But guns will be permitted at the hall where the speeches from nearly all the Republican presidential candidates will be given.
“Maddow [also] points out in her piece that the Tennessee legislature worked overtime to try to loosen their gun laws in advance of the convention. This inconvenient permitting issue must have been something of an embarrassment,” writes Salon‘s Heather Digby Parton. “They managed to vote the quick passage of an emergency law allowing open carry in parks but they got hung up on a proposed law against carrying fake guns near schools. So it looks like they couldn’t get any of this legislation signed before the convention. It was a good try though.”