What I Learned at the NRA Convention

The main thing I learned is I’m not ready to own a gun. Through the Writers’ Police Academy, an MWA conference that included a special session at a shooting range, and a conceal carry class I took several years ago, I’ve been taught how to handle a gun. So there I am last Saturday, at the exhibition hall in the Indiana Convention Center Indianapolis, and the first exhibit I stop at is demonstrating what’s called a Double Tap (a nice, small handgun that I figured my 74-year-old protagonist might want to carry). After asking a few questions of the man in the booth, I’m handed a demonstration model to look at. It looks like it actually has bullets in it. (They probably were fake.) I get nervous, so I hand the gun back to him. No, Maris, you should not have the barrel pointed at the person and your fingers near the trigger when you hand a gun back.


Not exactly the same gun, but similar

Not exactly the same gun, but similar

My next flub wasn’t really a flub, but it was rather disheartening. There was a woman demonstrating these cute little pink handguns. Again, what a neat gun for my protagonist to carry in her purse. Right? Except, when the woman demonstrating the guns told me to give it a try, I couldn’t even pull the trigger. It took 11 pounds pressure she told me.

I’m a whimp.

I did see some really neat holsters and body armor. I also saw lots and lots of people: men and women (and children) of all ages and sizes. Sure, there were some people there who looked like the stereotype NRA member (long beards, bib overalls, etc.), but there were also a lot of people who looked like your typical businessmen and women. The place was jammed, but everyone was very polite.

I sat in on a home defense seminar and found it quite interesting. I wish I’d taken notes and could tell you who the presenter was. He was very good as he went through the five steps one should take if threatened while in your home. The first step is to evade the situation. As he said, if you see someone coming up to your house, carrying a gun, and saying he’s going to kill you, don’t just stand there. Get away. Get somewhere safe, or at least safer. And once you’re in a safer location, barricade it, even if that’s just to lock the door. Then arm yourself. Find a weapon. Again, this doesn’t need to be a gun (baseball bat, golf club, chair), but if you have a gun, have it out and ready. Then call for help.

Best advice he gave: If you have an old cell phone that’s no longer on contract, keep it charged and in a location where you can get to it. You can call 9-1-1 with that phone.

Make sure you tell the dispatcher exactly where you are, what’s happening, and if you do have a gun, let the police know you are armed and what you’re wearing (so they can tell the bad guys from the good). He also said this is a good time to talk to the person who’s after you (Unless you’re in hiding. In that case, keep quiet.) Tell the antagonist that you’re armed and that the police are on the way. Sometimes that’s enough to end the confrontation. If not, and the antagonist breaks through your barricade, be prepared to act.

Saturday evening thousands of us (many, many thousands) went to the Lucas Oil Stadium and were entertained by Sara Evans and Alabama. I wish I could tell you that was great, but the sound system wasn’t balanced and mostly I heard a lot of loud bass. Maybe it was where we were sitting. I don’t know, but some of the people around us also mentioned they couldn’t hear the words. Actually, the guys that make up Alabama were great.  I’d just like to hear them somewhere with better acoustics.

I’ve been to gun shows before, but never anything this grandiose. It was quite an experience.


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5 Responses to What I Learned at the NRA Convention

  1. Maris. What a great experience. Guns can be scary, but knowing how to handle one is the best way to go.

  2. Lucy Kubash says:

    Interesting experience, I’m sure. Don’t think I’m ready to handle a gun either. I did shoot a shotgun once, but not excited to repeat that.

  3. Melissa Keir says:

    I am dying to find a handgun that I can handle. I have problems with the strength needed as well. I think this show sounds interesting. 🙂

  4. Eleven pounds! Yikes Maris, that is brutal. Puts me out of the handgun owner category. We need armed lady protagonists with big (strong) hands.

    All the best, Annette

  5. Diane Burton says:

    What a terrific experience. Thanks for the pointers on home invasion. Great info for self and for a story.