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NRA Opens Convention With Optimism About Future

Image: NRA Opens Convention With Optimism About Future Attendees wait to register for the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Friday, April 25, 2014 in Indianapolis.

By Courtney Coren   |   Friday, 25 Apr 2014 08:47 AM

The National Rifle Association is holding its annual convention in Indianapolis this weekend feeling new vigor after several victories over the last year.

After gun control reforms were proposed across the country in 2013 following the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012, the issue has now picked up momentum in other ways, The Washington Times reported.

For example, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia on Wednesday signed a bill into law expanding the state's gun carrying policy to bars, churches, and government buildings in certain situations.

South Carolina's Republican Gov. Nikki Haley signed a similar measure in February, expanding the state's concealed-carry law to include bars and restaurants.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownbeck of Kansas said Wednesday that he signed a measure to ensure that the state's open-carry law remains in effect across the state by preventing local officials from adding their own restrictions.

In 2014, at least 30 states have managed to pass some kind of measure that was pro-gun so far. By comparison, in 2013, 12 states approved gun-control measures following both the Newtown school shooting and the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.

Several of the 70,000 attendees and NRA members are also focused on policies the group plans to push for over the next year such as reciprocity with states that allow concealed-carry permits, the midterm elections, and the recent ammunition shortages.

Speakers at the event that goes from Thursday through Saturday include several powerful Republican politicians from across the country such as Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Mike Pence of Indiana, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Sens. Daniel Coats of Indiana and Marco Rubio of Florida.

The NRA's political action committee, the NRA Political Victory Fund, had $14.1 million in the bank by the end of March, the Center for Responsive Politics reported.

However, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told USA Today that money is not where the group's strength lies.

"Everyone things our strength comes from money," he said. "It doesn't. Our strength is truly in our membership. We have a savvy and loyal voting bloc, and they show up election after election after election."

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