The 146th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits are upon us. When the clock strikes 9 a.m. this morning, tens of thousands of dedicated NRA members will enter the Georgia World Congress Center and begin the festivities. If you're one of the many members making the trek to Atlanta this weekend, we thank you. If you're not, we hope you can join us sometime in the future. Either way, I've compiled a short list of "must-see" items in Atlanta over the course of the show.
A Whole Lot of Guns and Gear
Most years, we at NRA like to talk about how the Annual Meetings & Exhibits are home to more than 10 or 11 (or however many) acres of guns and gear. Thing is, the Georgia World Congress Center is massive! The convention center alone is sporting some 32 acres, and since today is the first day I'm on the show floor, I can't account for how many of them we've jam-packed with goodies. Point being, this place is packed to the brim with all of the guns and gear you could ever expect to see this weekend. The major manufacturers are all here, and most of the smaller ones are, too. And they're all here to see you, the NRA member. This isn't an industry expo, like SHOT Show—it's a consumer show. Representatives from throughout the industry are venturing to Louisville to put their wares on display for NRA members. Take advantage of it.
NRA-ILA Leadership Forum
NRA-ILA's annual Leadership Forum is one of the most politically significant and popular events in the country, featuring our nation's top Second Amendment leaders in government, the media and the entertainment industry. The Forum is also a must-stop for candidates seeking the highest levels of elected office. As you've probably heard by now, President Donald Trump will be joining us this year. Suffice it to say, this is a can't-miss event.
What's an Annual Meeting & Exhibits without a few live appearances from the proud supporters from NRA Country? There's never a shortage of good jams at one of these shows, and Atlanta will be no different. Among this year's highlights is a Saturday night concert featuring Hank Williams, Jr., and friends—alongside special guest star Lee Brice. I saw Hank rock Nashville a couple of years ago at the 144th Annual Meetings & Exhibits. If you're in attendance this year, don't miss it.
The Seminars, Presentations and Workshops
Every year some of the finest minds in the shooting and hunting industry descend on the Annual Meetings & Exhibits to share their knowledge—free of charge. Topics range from self-defense to firearms history and more. The guys and gals over at American Rifleman have an entire series of presentations, too. But with so many opportunities and so little time, how do you decide which seminars to attend? We’ll make it easy: Here are five you can’t afford to miss. If you can't make the show, we'll throw you a bone—we'll be broadcasting Craig Boddington's "Perfect Shots" via Facebook Live on Saturday afternoon.
The NRA Booth
OK, so I get how this one sounds like a bit of shameless self-promotion, but let's face it—its an NRA show, and the NRA is why we're all there. Everything begins and ends with NRA, and the Annual Meetings & Exhibits is an opportunity for members from throughout the nation to speak with our representatives, in person. Have a question or concern? Folks will be on hand to discuss it with you. It doesn't hurt that the NRA booth will also play host to a few celebrity visits, either. Plus there's always the exhibit put on by the National Firearms Museum. Trust me, take the time to swing by. And be sure to grab a copy of American Hunter, too. If you're there at the right time, I might even be the guy personally handing you one.