In case you somehow havent heard, the National Rifle Association is holding its Annual Meeting at the convention center, through Sunday. The NRA is officially a non-profit, non-partisan group, and you can tell how non-partisan it is by taking a look at the conventions lineup of speakers: Newt Gingrich; Macho man and conservative hero Chuck Norris; Fox News head case Glenn Beck, who, just a forewarning, is now claiming to receive instructions from God; and former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin, aka Lady BlahBlah. Yeah, that's really non-partisan.
The NRA wasnt always this way. Started in the late 19th century as a marksmanship and gun safety group, over the past 35 years the organization has evolved into much more than a gun hobbyists club and Second Amendment rights watchdog. Todays NRA is a right-wing juggernaut, probably the second most effective right-wing organization in the world, slightly behind Myanmar's secret police. Congress members are scared to offend the NRA, which continually ups the ante on how much protection gun owners are entitled to. Currently, the group is busy defending the rights of terrorists and the criminally insane to buy guns I wish I were kidding and trying to convince Virginias legislature to allow people with loaded guns to drink in bars. What's next a revival of dueling? By the way, dont bet against the NRA getting its way in Virginia. The NRA's increased involvement in politics is a big part of how weve become a nation thats armed to the teeth, and where people kill each other at a mind-boggling rate that makes the rest of the world think were, well, kinda nuts. The only thing more astonishing about the NRA than its no-limits advocacy for gun ownership is its group members absolute refusal to evince common sense and at least admit that there is a correlation between Americas gun possession and murder rates.
The last time the NRA held its convention here, in 2000, NRA President Charlton Guns n Moses Heston lifted a reproduction of a Colonial Era musket over his head and declared, From my cold dead hands! A couple of weeks later, he put down the gun and headed to alcohol rehab. In 2008, someone apparently took up Heston on his famous Charlotte quote.