What To Expect At The NRA Convention: Wannabe Presidents, Bloomberg Bashing, And Alternate Realities

Starting Friday and continuing into the next week, the National Rifle Association will hold its annual convention in Indiana. The event — which is being held just seven miles from one of the biggest nationwide distributors of guns used in the commission of a crime — will feature “educational seminars, celebrities, and fun-filled special events,” according to the website. It’ll also feature a host of speeches from prominent conservatives and plenty of red meat for the Second Amendment-loving attendees.

As the NRA has been hosting these conventions for years, several themes have become standard fare. Here are three of them.

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Angling For Facetime

The 2016 presidential election is still more than two years away, but it’s never too early for candidates to start shoring up their base support. Since the NRA has essentially become a lobby for the GOP, the group’s annual convention is one of the best places this side of CPAC for Republican candidates-in-waiting to convince primary voters that they really do care about the Second Amendment.

Senator Marco Rubio already gave a speech, in which he accused liberals of wanting to “cut and paste the constitution and get rid of the Second Amendment entirely,” while Rick Santorum used his platform at the event to link gun rights to the War on Religion (which, it should be noted, doesn’t exist). Louisiana Governor (and Duck Dynasty fanboy) Bobby Jindal is also set to address the crowd, as is Indiana Governor Mike Pence; both are frequently mentioned as possible 2016 presidential candidates, and both will undoubtedly talk about all of the wonderful pro-gun laws they’ve signed in their respective states.

A Lot Of Michael Bloomberg Bashing

Bloomberg’s dogged commitment to passing stricter gun laws has made him a favorite boogeyman for the guns rights crowd, and his recent pledge to spend $50 million dollars in the next year to elect anti-gun politicians has incited the NRA’s wrath like never before. On Friday, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre kicked off the festivities by unveiling an anti-Bloomberg video; shortly afterwards, one of the group’s top lobbyists called the former mayor an “arrogant hypocrite” and ordered him to “stay the hell out of our gun cabinets.”

There’s going to be a lot more where that came from. Every cause needs a punching bag, and Bloomberg’s immense personal wealth gives Republicans a rare opportunity to attack a rich person and claim the mantle of populism.

Vivid Depictions Of A World That Doesn’t Exist

In a video address, Senator Ted Cruz told attendees that “in 32 months, [President Obama] can return home to live in the anti-gun utopia that is Chicago.” An odd description of Chicago, considering the city had the second-highest gun murder rate in the country in 2013. Meanwhile, Rubio made the absurd claim that the entertainment industry “stigmatize[s] guns and gun ownership” (okay then), while LaPierre said that gun control activists intend to “finish the job” in 2016, even though gun laws were actually loosened, not tightened, over the last year.

This is the alternate reality in which the NRA dwells: A universe where the Second Amendment is in danger of being eradicated, the film industry conspires to make guns look uncool, and firearms are non-existent in Chicago.