The second floor of the NRA Annual Meetings was a completely different world from the first. While there are still plenty of people, guns to see and celebrities to meet it was not the same giant spread of booths covering acres of convention show floor. Rather, it was set up more as a hallway and while not quite a retreat, it offered a different atmosphere from the bottom level.
When you first ascended the stairs to the second level you were greeted with a series of tables and line of giant posters depicting different celebrities and NRA executives. It was interesting to browse and see who had their photo displayed so prominently at the NRA Annual Meetings.
There was a constant noise on the second floor, as loud if not louder than the hub-bub on the show floor: each year the NRA Foundation hosts the Wall of Guns. A display that not only showcases the new guns but allows show attendees to enter for a chance to win one of them. Winners get to select any firearm from either side of the wall. The pace is rapid and there is an announcer constantly commentating on the game, but if you managed a moment in all the commotion there were opportunities to meet Team Weatherby, New York Giant’s Bear Pascoe and even country singer Darryl Worley. All the proceeds from the game went to benefit the NRA Foundation.
The book signings were another popular stop for many attendees. Saturday afternoon, Glenn Beck was signing his book Control and the line stretched across the entire lobby. Sunday morning was another popular time period as Ted Nugent was in house signing Ted, White and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto. While the lines varied depending on who was present signing books, there was always a crowd looking to purchase one of the books that were for sale on the spot.
The second floor also hosted an area where a series of new products were displayed. The “Featured Product Center” displayed products from various manufacturers, including Heizer Defense, Concealed Carrie and XS Sight Systems. While not extremely popular as a destination, the center provided entertainment for those waiting in long line for book signings or those who happened to wander through.
The second floor of the NRA convention was a completely different world from the first, but it provided an interesting look at some of the upcoming products, an opportunity to meet some influential people and the chance to win some cool, new guns. Plus it was also where the Starbucks was, and to a lot of people that made it extremely important.
Originally published in the June 2013 issue of GunUp the Magazine.