DALLAS - Usually news of the National Rifle Association holding a convention in a state that allows open carry wouldn't be a big deal, but that was before July 7. that`s the day five officers were gunned down in an ambush during what had been a peaceful protest.
Even after complaints from cops about open carry making it hard for them to know who's the bad guy, Dallas will host the NRA's annual convention in a couple of years.
The city agreed four years ago to waive more than $400,000 in rent so the NRA could hold the event at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Although it's worth noting that another controversial event, the Exxxotica Expo, wasn't welcomed in the same fashion.
Taxpayer support for the NRA convention is nothing new, but the subject seems controversial in Dallas due to the lives lost over the summer. Executive Vice President of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, Matthew Jones, says that’s why his organization has been working with DPD throughout this process, “Our hearts continue to feel what happened here in Dallas. It's something that we work extremely closely with the local police department because they have to provide a lot of service when it comes to the meetings that come here to make sure that they stay safe.”
Overall, Jones says the city's stakeholders believe the economic impact that comes with hosting the NRA convention is too much to pass up.
"It's a rather large piece of business, probably close to 20,000 attendees and expected to have about a $23 million spend in the local economy."
The economic impact is certain but how people respond to the emotional impact two years from now is a shot in the dark.