City Council Drives Freedom and NRA Out of Columbus
Monday, July 18, 2005
Council’s Decision to Ban Guns Prompts Exodus
Columbus, OH -- As a direct result of the Columbus City Council decision to ban semi-automatic firearm ownership for law-abiding citizens, the National Rifle Association (NRA) announced it will move its 2007 Annual Meeting and Convention from Columbus, OH. Speaking at a press conference at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre stated that the NRA would return to Columbus when the Legislature enacts a preemption law that would override the Columbus ban.
“Two months ago, I was pleased to announce that the National Rifle Association chose the great city of Columbus to host our 136th Annual Meetings and Exhibits in May of 2007,” said LaPierre. “The NRA is not coming to Columbus in 2007. The convention is canceled because last week your City Council unanimously voted to revoke the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens in Columbus by banning perfectly legal firearms.”
The City Council’s decision will have a negative economic impact on businesses in the greater Columbus area. Earlier this year, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce said it estimated $20 million in revenue from hotels, restaurants, entertainment and other NRA convention related spending. In addition, Columbus would have received free publicity from major national and regional new organizations covering the NRA Annual Meetings.
Past conventions brought significant economic boon to NRA Annual Meeting host cities:
· NRA’s 2005 convention brought $20 million in revenue for Houston, TX, and an overall $50 million impact for the local economy. The 450 exhibitors and 60,000 attendees sold out a total of eight hotels.
· In 2004, NRA’s convention in nearby Pittsburgh, PA, brought 61,000 attendees and 360 exhibitors to the city, resulting in $12-15 million for local merchants.
LaPierre announced the NRA will push for preemption legislation in Ohio to protect the lawful gun owners by making gun laws uniform across Ohio. Ohio is one of only seven states that does not have this law to protect gun owners from a confusing and dangerous patchwork of firearms laws.
“The NRA is going to work with the people of Columbus and the Ohio Legislature to pass state preemption legislation and restore freedom to the people of Columbus," continued LaPierre. “When the Ohio Legislature enacts preemption, freedom will be restored to the people of Columbus. And when freedom comes back to Columbus, we will come back to Columbus.”