Media Misled on NRA Annual Meeting Gun Policy

NRA allows gun carry at convention; Secret Service prohibits them during speech they're securing

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A number of major media outlets misled their readers on Monday by inaccurately reporting on the gun-carry policy for the upcoming National Rifle Association convention.

Despite reports from outlets like CBS News, the Associated Press, and Politico, the National Rifle Association did not ban guns from their annual meeting. Nor did the gun-rights organization make the decision to keep guns from Vice President Mike Pence's speech at the conference. Instead, the Secret Service, which will provide armed security for the speech, will not allow civilian gun carry at the venue where Pence will speak during his speech on May 4.

"Due to the attendance of the Vice President of the United States at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on Friday, May 4, the U.S. Secret Service will be responsible for event security around the Arena at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center," a message on the event's website read. "As a result, firearms and firearm accessories, knives or weapons of any kind will be prohibited in the forum prior to and during his attendance."

The restriction is not unique to the NRA event and is common practice for events that are secured by the Secret Service.

The convention, which takes place between May 3 and May 6, will allow gun carry that abides by Texas law wherever and whenever the Secret Service isn't providing armed security.

"During the 2018 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, lawfully carried firearms will be permitted in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and the Omni Dallas Hotel in accordance with Texas law," the NRA said on their site. "When carrying your firearm remember to follow all federal, state, and local laws."

Despite these facts, a number of major media outlets described the situation as an NRA-instituted ban on gun carry at the Pence speech or even at the entire convention.

"NRA bans guns at President Trump, VP Pence speeches during it's [sic] annual meeting in Dallas," an Associated Press headline said. "The NRA just banned guns at an upcoming Pence speech and now Parkland students are crying hypocrisy," CBS News said on Twitter. "Parkland students criticize NRA for banning guns at upcoming Pence event," Politico tweeted. "NRA faces backlash for banning guns at NRA convention," a headline from The Hill said.

NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch, who has long criticized coverage of the organization, said the misleading reporting damages the media's credibility.

"NRA banned nothing," Loesch tweeted. "The media does this every year. It's Secret Service SOP and they supersede all start and local control. Don't complain about your eroding credibility and people calling you ‘fake news' when you publish things like this."

After receiving criticism from reporters and activists alike for their inaccurate characterization of the NRA convention's gun policy, the Associated Press deleted their original tweet on the subject and issued a correction.

"AP has deleted a tweet that incorrectly said the NRA had banned guns during Trump and Pence speeches at its annual meeting," the newswire said. "The ban was put in place by the Secret Service. A corrected tweet is coming."

They tweeted a few minutes later with an accurate description of the story.

"NRA members can bring their guns during most of the annual meeting in Dallas—but not while Trump and Pence are speaking," the corrected tweet read. "The Secret Service has barred them during their speeches."