The National Rifle Association returns to Indianapolis for its annual convention Thursday. Visit Indy Senior Vice President Chris Gahl says, while the event is polarizing, it is also very high-profile, with both President Trump and Vice President Pence set to speak. The convention is expected to bring in 75,000 people and generate a $35 million economic impact. Gahl says the event is on the books to return to Indianapolis in 2023.
The 148th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits will be at the Indiana Convention Center from Thursday through Sunday. The organization says it will include more than 15 acres of booths and exhibitions featuring firearms and shooting and hunting accessories.
Gahl tells Inside INdiana Business that it took eight years to sell the NRA on bringing the convention to Indianapolis for the first time in 2014, but only eight months to convince them to renew. He says talks are ongoing to attract additional conventions beyond 2023, but adds, "This is one of many conventions that is signaling to us that unless we put more hotel rooms in place and expand the convention center that they will literally outgrow the city."
Trump and Pence are both set to address the convention Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium, which Gahl says "certainly puts a layer of complexity" on the convention, but says Visit Indy and organizers have been preparing. Trump recently spoke at the FFA Convention in Indianapolis in October.
Gahl says the NRA convention will be the fifth-largest convention the city will host this year. He says the city will also receive valuable national media exposure, with more than 1,000 credentialed media members expected to cover the event.
During an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Gahl discussed the possibility of future NRA conventions coming to Indianapolis.