News & Politics

Armed Children? 5 Craziest Things About This Weekend's NRA Convention

From an Obama look-alike target to Mayor Michael Bloomberg being portrayed as a Nazi.

Photo Credit: subtlemd/Flickr

The National Rifle Association (NRA) was in the media spotlight over the weekend as they held their national convention. One message emerging from the conference was to gear up for the 2014 elections, which the NRA sees as pivotal for gun rights.

It was the first national gathering for an organization that has been in the spotlight since the mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado. But stepping into that spotlight hasn’t forced the NRA to curb some of its nutty tendencies. Here are 5 crazy moments that occurred at the convention.

1. Armed Children 

The NRA wants to appeal to....children! The New York Daily News reported that at the convention, “two 10-year-olds took aim with air pistols, an 11-year-old gawked at a semiautomatic weapon and a 3-year-old soaked up applause for being the youngest member.”

That wasn’t the only instance of children attending the NRA convention. The Daily Mail Online notes that Will Marshall, a 12-year-old from Florida, “has been a member of the NRA for 11 years and owns four guns.” In other words, he joined when he was one.

The presence of young kids at the NRA comes as the problem of children holding guns has been tragically highlighted. One April week saw four people shot by toddlers. And in early May, a five-year-old boy in Kentucky accidentally killed his two-year-old sister with a small rifle.

2. A Bleeding Target That Looks Like Obama

For two days, a vendor at the NRA convention hawked a gun target that had an image that looked like President Obama bleeding on it. The vendor, Zombie Industries, was asked to take the product down because it looked too much like the president. Zombie Industries sells life-sized targets for gun owners to shoot at.

Asked by a BuzzFeed reporter whether the Obama likeness was intentional, a Zombie Industries worker replied: “Let's just say I gave my Republican father one for Christmas.”

3. Guns and the Boston Marathon Bombing

There’s plenty to parse in NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s speech at the convention. But what attracted the most attention is this remark: “How many Bostonians wished they had a gun two weeks ago?"

LaPierre continued by saying that Bostonians were “frightened citizens...sheltered in place with no means to defend themselves.”

4. Pink Bra Holsters

The NRA is an overwhelmingly male organization. But they’re trying to broaden their appeal to women--and so vendors sold bras that could hold guns.

5. Mayor Bloomberg as a Nazi


The Obama image wasn’t the only distasteful optic that occurred at the convention. In this case, though, the speaker wasn’t asked to take it down.

Glenn Beck delivered a speech to the NRA that was supplemented by an image of Mayor Michael Bloomberg looking like a Nazi, as New York magazine’s Joe Coscarelli notes. Bloomberg has been in the NRA’s sights since he started railing against lax gun laws in the country and funding candidates favorable to gun control.


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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