Comrades in Arms

National Rifle Association Convention Descends on Houston (Photos)

See photos from day one of the gun group’s ‘Stand and Fight’ convention.

Justin Sullivan/Getty

Justin Sullivan/Getty

The NRA Gathers

The National Rifle Association's annual convention kicked off Friday, with more than 70,000 expected to attend the three-day "Stand and Fight"-themed gathering. During a raucous rally at NRA headquarters, the organization's soon-to-be head touted the importance of their fight. "This is not a battle about gun rights," said James Porter, whose father headed the NRA from 1959 to 1960. "[It's] a culture war." Porter, who says he's determined to strike down anyone trying to "go after our guns," applauded the group's recent victory over President Obama and Congress's gun-control bill. “[You] here in this room are the fighters for freedom. We are the protectors,” he said.                                 

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An attendee carefully inspects a scope on an assault rifle at the George R. Brown Convention Center. This year's convention features nearly 550 exhibitors, a gun trade show, youth day, firearms classes, and a speech by rocker and NRA supporter Ted Nugent.

Johnny Hanson/Houston Chronicle,via AP

Janet Bero waits to have her German Luger appraised during the NRA's Antique Guns and Gold Showcase, a television show that runs on the Sportsman Channel.

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Nothing says "put your hand on my trigger" like an assault rifle with a little pink flair.

Johnny Hanson/Houston Chronicle,via AP

Barry Bailey and his wife, Judy, of DeRidder, La., walk hand-in-hand after having their 1873 Winchester shotgun appraised for the Antique Guns and Gold Showcase.

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Thousands swarmed the show floor on Friday. This year's event is on track to be the NRA's largest annual meeting ever, a spokesman said.

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A young gun enthusiast keeps her eye on the prize during a shooting game while a grinning older gentleman watches over her shoulder.

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Deer heads, anyone? An exhibitor showcases his wares.

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An attendee walks casually by the ultimate NRA sex symbol.

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"If you are an NRA member, you deserve to be proud," Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president, wrote to members last week, saying they "exemplify everything that's good and right about America."

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La Pierre is scheduled to appear at the convention Friday with a panel of political gun-rights champions, including former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and Glenn Beck.

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Ammo is neatly displayed for close inspection in a glass case.

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An NRA member considers trading in his cowboy hat for one of the group's signature trucker caps.

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A man carefully inspects a scope.