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NRA Defends Policies at Annual ConventionAired May 19, 2000 - 2:44 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: With the gun debate on the national political plate this election year, the National Rifle Association opens its yearly meeting Charlotte.
CNN's Brian Cabell is in Charlotte, North Carolina with the story -- Brian.
BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Lou.
The NRA has taken a number of hits over the last couple of years because of the school violence across the nation, most notably at Columbine High School last year. And just last week, of course, there was the Million Mother's March in Washington, D.C., and a number of other cities across the nation.
Well, the NRA says it has a defense to all of this. The defense is just across the street at its 129th annual convention. It points out that 3.6 million people now call themselves members of the NRA. That is a record. Forty thousand people attending this year's convention, that too is a record. Three hundred exhibits, another record.
You talk to the attendees here, there is anger, there is determination, and a determination that the politicians here, the NRA politician stay aggressive on the political front.
Endorsements? They don't have those yet. Those will come after the conventions. But you shouldn't be surprised who they do endorse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL POWERS, NRA PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICIAL: Clearly, there's a very dramatic difference between Governor Bush, who believes in tough prosecutions against the violent criminals and at the same time is very supportive of the rights of lawful citizens to own firearms. There's a very clear difference between the governor and Mr. Gore, who can't seem to do enough in terms of proposing a new regulation on top of another new regulation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABELL: That was Bill Powers, the public affairs officials for the NRA. One final note just announced about an hour ago by Wayne LaPierre, something nonpolitical, I guess. In Times Square, the NRA is going to open up an NRA megastore very soon. We don't know how soon. They say sooner rather than later. The NRA megastore will consist of some virtual reality games, some shooting games. And if you're in the mood for dining, they will have a wild game grill.
So again, we have a little bit of politics, we have some numbers, and we have a new restaurant opening up in Times Square very soon.
I'm Brian Cabell, CNN, live, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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