Thousands To Attend NRA Meeting In St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Officials with the National Rifle Association said they were being warmly received in St. Louis for their annual meeting, despite protests from both angry gun owners and opponents of Missouri`s Conceal-and-Carry law.

With over 60,000 people already registered, you wouldn't think the weekend could be contentious.  Guns are always a hot-button issue, though, especially in a conceal-and-carry state.

State legislators would not pass the bill in 1999.  But, they gave gun owners the right to legally carry concealed weapons in 2003.  The NRA held their annual meeting here a few years later.

The group came back just in time for an angry debate over whether owners can carry their guns onto public transit and reports of some businesses protesting this weekend's convention.

"Our experience has been wonderful,' said Andrew Arulanandam of the NRA.  'In fact, most of the venues that we've gone to for lunch or for dinner they have had welcome signs, Welcome NRA to St. Louis.  St. Louis is an All-American city.  We were here in 2007.  We had a great time, there were great people to work with.  And, that's why we're back again in 2012."

The convention is expected to bring millions to downtown.  It will also bring several gun-supporting politicians, including republican vice-presidential hopefuls and their wives.  The spouses were scheduled to hold a forum with what the NRA said is the fastest-growing demographic of gun owners:  women.

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