We attended the NRA Annual Meeting this past weekend in Charlotte. When the Complementary Spouse asked what I wanted for my birthday, I said I wanted her to go with me to Charlotte. Being the good woman that she is, she agreed.
Even though this was my first NRA show, I had an idea of what to expect in the Charlotte Convention Center since I had attended the 1996 SHOT Show in Dallas. I was working for a knife company then and helped to work their booth.
My first impression is that the NRA show was smaller but friendlier. There were less “booth babes” than at a SHOT Show which given the family-oriented composition of the crowd was probably a smart thing. The vendors seemed more willing to take the time to explain their products than I expected. That was nice feature of the show.
We were met in Charlotte by the Complementary Spouse’s brother Larry and two of his sons. The boys were more interested in the Bushmaster ACR, the FN SCAR, and the Barrett Model 82A1 than anything else. Larry and I were more interested in the higher end 1911’s, the exquisite wood of the Dakota Arms rifles, and other stuff of that ilk. Blame Call of Duty Modern Warfare and other video games!
The Complementary Spouse is not of the Gun Culture. Her father did collect guns and she has shot skeet with her late dad many years ago. The one thing that really stood out for her is how polite everyone was. You saw Mom and Pop Kettle, bikers, servicemen, cops, hippies, old people, young kids, etc. People didn’t jostle in line, they held doors for one another, they said “excuse me” and “please”, and they were just nice to one another. When you have more than 70,000 people in one place this is a rare thing. Robert Heinlein was right – an armed society is a polite society – even when you aren’t allowed to carry your arms like in Charlotte.