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National Rifle Association prepares for annual meeting in Dallas

National Rifle Association's annual meeting begins Friday in Dallas
National Rifle Association's annual meeting begins Friday in Dallas 02:36

DALLAS — The National Rifle Association is gearing up for its annual meeting at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Downtown Dallas. The convention is known as "the largest gathering of Second Amendment supporters." 

The NRA tells CBS News Texas, it expects as many as 75,000 members to attend the event, with extra excitement surrounding the meeting's keynote speaker — former President Donald Trump.

"It's the one time during the year where everybody, or the majority of people, who come together are all like-minded and our freedoms and still take that pretty seriously," says Darwin Boedeker, one of the convention's gun exhibitors

Boedecker, along with more than 600 other gun and gear exhibitors, used Thursday to set up their booths on the nearly 14-acre area in the convention building.

NRA deputy director, Jennifer Briemann, says adults and kids of all ages are welcome to attend the free event. 

"It's such a large gathering 75,000 people, which is an enormous turnout. So, you can feel the energy building," she said.

However for Miriam Sharma, who is a member of the Dallas chapter of Moms Demand Action, says she is concerned about kids being able to attend the event.

"It is interesting that the City of Dallas is allowing them to come in and obviously advertise openly that children are welcome to come to the event, when we know that firearms are the leading cause of death in children and teens," she told CBS News Texas. 

Sharma says Moms Demand Action is planning to hold a rally near the NRA convention in support of gun control, especially for kids.

This weekend's meeting is the first time the event has been held in Dallas since 2018. Trump will give a keynote speech Saturday afternoon. Texas Governor Greg Abbot will give a speech, as well.

The NRA says there will be extra security and screenings for all attendees during the weekend. 

"On Saturday, the entire venue will be under the control of the U.S. Secret Service. It will be probably the most secure place you can find in town, so there are many preparations underway to make sure that it is a safe and fun experience for NRA members," Briemann explained.

The Dallas Police Department says officers are prepared to respond to any threats or protests.

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