An estimated 70,000 gun enthusiasts made their way to the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in downtown Pittsburgh over the weekend to take in a few seminars and browse the hundreds of exhibitors that had set up booths. Among the companies were some well-known names and a few startup companies.
The Beretta family began making and selling guns in the 1500’s and is still going strong. Their booth at the NRA convention featured everything from pistols to assault rifles. Visitors lined up to hold one of the company’s new handguns and try it out in a shooting range. “You are presented with targets and there is a laser that is actually inside the barrel of the gun that allows the simulator to pick up the actual firing,” said Beretta USA Spokesperson Lea Ramthun, “There are no bullets fired but because the system involves the CO2 cartages the gun will actually recoil and then casings will be ejected.”
Kimber Manufacturing of Montana had more than 150 weapons on display. Spokesperson Dwight Van Brunt says all of their products are backordered three to nine months. Kimber is the largest maker of 1911 pistols but they were showing off a new sidearm by putting one on the hip of every salesperson in the booth. “Instead of taking them up to the counter we can just hand them out in the aisle and demonstrate the pistols,” said Van Brunt.
All of the guns on display were disabled and specially tagged. No firearms could be purchased at the convention.
Guns were not the only things on display at the NRA convention. Visitors could purchase holsters, clothing, sights and a long list of other gun accessories. Several booths featured reloading equipment and supplies. RighttoBareArms.com was showing off its line of pro second amendment rights clothing and auto accessories. The company’s logo is the well know phrase in picture form (see right) with a right turn sign, the number “2,” a drawing of a bear and drawing of a pair muscular human arms posed as if they were holding a pistol. “Its just a neat way to get it out there in front of everybody, a different way to express it,” said owner Jimmy Water. He says they did a decent business, “We think it would look good on Bubba’s truck and Billy’s BMW.”