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A look back at past NRA conventions | TribLIVE.com
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A look back at past NRA conventions

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FILE - In this May 20, 2000, file photo, NRA president Charlton Heston holds up a musket as he tells the 5000 plus members attending the 129th Annual Meeting & Exhibit in Charlotte, N.C., that they can have his gun when they pry it "from my cold dead hands, " The ending to his speech drew a standing ovation.
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FILE - In this May 20, 2016, file photo, a National Rifle Association attendee photographs Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as he speaks at the NRA convention in Louisville, Ky. The organization has been closely aligned with Trump, who will be addressing the 2019 NRA annual meeting, the third consecutive year heճ appeared before the group.
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FILE - In this May 4, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks at the National Rifle Association annual convention in Dallas. The organization has been closely aligned with Trump, who will be addressing the 2019 NRA annual meeting, the third consecutive year heճ appeared before the group.
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FILE - In this, May 21, 2016, file photo, Bob McGinnis, of Cross Plains, Wis., holds a miniature gun he has made at a display of the Miniature Arms Society at the National Rifle Association convention in Louisville, Ky. The convention, that started in 1871 as a group devoted to hunting, shooting sports and gun safety, has evolved into one of the most powerful forces in American politics.
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FILE - In this May 2, 2013, file photo, Barry Bailey and his wife Judy, of DeRidder La., walk out hand-in-hand after having their 1873 Winchester rifle appraised at the NRA’s Antiques Guns and Gold Showcase during the National Rifle Association’s 142 Annual Meetings and Exhibits at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The National Rifle Association is gathering for its 148th annual meeting beginning Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Indianapolis.
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FILE - In this April 28, 2017, file photo, Nicole Alvarez holds a sign during a "die-in" protest against the National Rifle Association’s annual convention where President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak a few blocks away in Atlanta. The organization has been closely aligned with Trump, who will be addressing the 2019 NRA annual meeting, the third consecutive year heճ appeared before the group.
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FILE - In this May 4, 2013, file photo, NRA members listen to speakers during the NRA Annual Meeting of Members at the National Rifle Association’s 142 Annual Meetings and Exhibits in the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The National Rifle Association is gathering for its 148th annual meeting beginning Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Indianapolis.
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FILE - In this May 3, 2013, file photo, a young man holds an assault style rifle during the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston. The National Rifle Association is gathering for its 148th annual meeting beginning Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Indianapolis.
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FILE - In this April 27, 2017, file photo, an attendee passes by a large banner advertising a handgun during the National Rifle Association convention at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The National Rifle Association is gathering for its 148th annual meeting beginning Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Indianapolis.
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FILE - In this May 21, 2016, file photo, Donald Carder wears his handgun in a holster as he pushes his son, Waylon, in a stroller at the National Rifle Association convention in Louisville, Ky. Attendees at the convention are permitted to carry firearms under Kentucky’s open carry law.
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FILE - In this May 1, 1999, file photo, demonstrators gather on the Colorado State Capitol grounds in Denver, Colo., to protest against the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting, which is being held in the city. The convention was planned long before the recent shootings at nearby Columbine High School, and the association has scaled the event down in the wake of the tragedy.
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FILE - In this May 1, 2011, file photo, musician and gun rights activist Ted Nugent addresses a seminar at the National Rifle Association’s 140th convention in Pittsburgh. The National Rifle Association is gathering for its 148th annual meeting beginning Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Indianapolis.

The National Rifle Association is gathering for its 148th annual meeting, which begins Thursday in Indianapolis.

What started in 1871 as a group devoted to hunting, shooting sports and gun safety has evolved into one of the most powerful forces in American politics.

Up until the late 1960s and 1970s, the NRA was viewed as willing to compromise on gun laws. That largely ended after the Gun Control Act of 1968 was enacted.

Some members pushed back, worried that further gun restrictions would undermine the Second Amendment.

The group perhaps most famously served as the rallying cry for gun rights activism when then-NRA President Charlton Heston in 2000 raised a rifle over his head and vowed to steadfastly cling to his right to bear arms and never allow it to be taken away “from my cold, dead hands.”

In recent years, the organization has been closely aligned with President Donald Trump, who will be addressing this year’s NRA annual meeting, the third consecutive year he’s appeared before the group.

The annual meetings feature seminars on topics such as concealed carry of firearms, advice for older gun owners on how to best defend themselves, and protecting schools.

It also attracts hosts of conservative celebrities, country music in the convention halls and exhibits from gunmakers and companies offering accessories and attire.

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