NRA expects more than 80,000 people as national convention begin - WDRB 41 Louisville News

NRA expects more than 80,000 people as national convention begins in Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The National Rifle Association opens it’s annual members meeting and show on Thursday.

“You're going to see over 800 exhibits, over a half-million square feet of exhibit floor where people are going to find the latest and greatest,” said NRA spokesperson Lars Dalseide.

The convention was in town back in 2008, but this year the NRA is expecting much higher totals of members showing up -- upwards of 80,000.

“There's a formula that we use with a number of things, including how many NRA members are in a 200-mile radius,” Dalseide said. “We look as well as what things are looking like politically.”

This year, the convention is expected to draw names like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Matt Bevin and presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

“The NRA works on the state level and national level when it comes to the different legislation that's coming down the pike,” Dalseide said.

It’s all happening through Sunday at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Just up the road in downtown Louisville is a different kind of gathering, the Festival of Faiths. The group is aimed at cutting down on gun violence through the United States.

“Right now, we feel like this is a great opportunity for us to show an alternative narrative to gun violence,” said Mike Martin, who is in town as part of Festival of Faiths.

Martin is spending the weekend breaking down and melting donated guns into gardening tools.

“When we get rid of our guns, that’s one of the steps we can do to exchange tools of violence for tools of creation,” Martin said.

Both groups say they did not know the other was in Louisville at the same time.

“The fact that we're both here kind of shows that there's a little bit of competing narratives,” Martin said.

According to the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, the NRA convention alone is expected to bring in $53 million to the area. 

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