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This weekend is the 2015 Annual Meeting for the National Rifle Association. It might sound stuffy — who likes “meetings” anyway? — but the biggest draw is going to be the trade show in the Music City Center. All of the major firearms manufacturers will be there showing off their guns, and it will be open to the public to browse and enjoy. Naturally TTAG’s finest will be on location to cover the event, and in preparation I tried to do some research into whether concealed carry is OK at the event. I found the info a little murky, so here’s my crack at clearing things up . . .

Tennessee is a state that has concealed carry permitting and honors those from every state except one. For the full run-down on the laws visit USACarry but the basics are that concealed carry is A-OK in The Volunteer State. But two scenarios where carrying a firearm can be prohibited that apply to the NRA event are either (A) if the venue is a municipally owned civic center or (B) if signs are posted to that effect.


The trade show is, just like SHOT or any other show, an event where thousands of people will be handling guns. So naturally, for the exhibitors, there’s a rule on the books that all guns on display must be deactivated. This is par for the course when it comes to firearms-related trade shows.

Naturally, Moms Demand Action (and other websites with similar predispositions and an inherent laziness) have misconstrued this to mean that since only non-functioning guns will be displayed, carry (concealed or otherwise) is prohibited. Naturally, they’re wrong:

The right to bear arms will draw out-of-towners by the tens of thousands to Nashville this week. But not all venues at the National Rifle Association annual meeting welcome concealed firearms.

Those with carry permits are in the clear inside the Music City Center. But the big nightly concerts are across the street at Bridgestone Arena.

The NRA’s website for the event spells it out:

During the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits, lawfully carried firearms will be permitted in the Music City Center with the proper license in accordance with Tennessee law. Bridgestone Arena prohibits the possession of firearms. When carrying your firearm, remember to follow all federal, state and local laws.

So if you’re legal to carry a gun, you’re good to go in the Music City Center where the trade show is taking place. But the music venue that will feature some of the entertainment has banned firearms and therefore guns are no bueno during the nightly events. I contacted the NRA directly for some clarification and they have confirmed that both open and concealed carry, if properly licensed, are 100% OK for the Music City Center.

Once again unencumbered by the thought process, Moms Demand Action hit the publish button without getting all the facts, and continuing to reinforce the they’re more about emotion than facts. So, that leaves only one question — what are you going to be packing?

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  1. MDA has their roots in journalism and PR, so flying off the handle at the slightest provocation is par for the course.

        • They just need to start a religion already. Makes it easier to burn people at the stake if you call them a heretic. Well, more publicly acceptable anyways. They can even have witch hunts! MDA should really liaison with the KKK, they have experience in community driven events and politically are based on the same bigotry. I bet Bloomberg won’t object to title like grand wizard or some such.

    • Shannon and her bimbos are lying liars that lie and they need their pants sued off for defamation, slander etc.

      • Don’t forget that said pants are, in fact, on fire. Whether that limits their ability to be sued off remains to be seen.

  2. NRA needs to make it policy requiring city ordinance/state law be modified to allow concealed carry in any of the buildings used for meetings or display and all hotels and resturants in the convention city. At least for the two weeks surrounding the convention dates. Or they WILL NOT COME TO YOUR CITY.

    At a minimum will show who is right on crime/concealed carry.

    • I agree. If all future conventions must be held in a handful of states (VT, AZ, etc) the payback will be the ability to point at past conventions and the firearm crime statistics during those conventions. “Look! Lotsa money! No problems! When are you going to get on board?”

      • That would be a backwards strategy for an organization that wants to increase membership (and political capital) in areas where those numbers are now weakest.

        Guns Save Life, an Illinois group, is preparing for regular meetings in Chicago. That’s right. Chicago. That’s a strategy I can support. If the goal is to change hearts and minds, you need to go where the hearts and minds need changing.

    • Yep, this is why I think they should move the convention permanently to Indianapolis. It was highly successful there, it’s the middle of the country, and “carrying” is legal almost everywhere.
      You can get a “trespass” charge if you carry against a private property owner request, and fail to leave when asked, which I think is fair to the terms of the property owners (that’s the only indirect regulation on open carry).

      Even Simon shopping malls ignored their own “no weapons” policy at the nearby mall during the NRA convention….. because $$$$.

      It is somewhat contradictory to NRA goals to be supporting venues that prohibit legal carry. And it certainly opens the door for a lot of bad publicity.

  3. Interesting how at most gun shows, loaded guns are not allowed. Sorry, but I don’t pay to get disarmed at the door. 🙂

    Good for the NRA show for allowing guns.

    • The fact that licensed concealed cary is prohibited at gun shows can be summed up thusly. Blame Lawyers, insurance companies and fear.

      • Wherever you encounter stupid rules, insane requirements, or just overall dumb-azz procedures you can be 99% certain that it was due to a lawyer. They are leech on liberty.

    • You have gun shows in your area? I get flea markets that have a couple of guns somewhere hiding among the Scentsy, overpriced milsurp and ammo, cheap survivalist crap, political/religious propaganda, and confederate flags.

  4. Addendum: Open carry of a handgun is legally identical to concealed carry in Tennessee. In fact, the Tennessee permit is a Handgun Carry Permit. No legal distinction.

  5. they have confirmed that both open and concealed carry, if properly licensed, are 100% OK for the Music City Center.

    Kudos to the NRA. They are beginning to win my trust back with things like this. And, thank you for getting clarification, Nick Leghorn.

  6. I am born and raised here in Tennessee the Bridgestone arena will be selling alcohol so that’s why you cant carry a weapon but all other venues if you have a state issued ccp you can carry it in accordance with state law!.

  7. Worth noting is that the one state whose “concealed carry permit” is not recognized by Tennessee is Vermont; this is likely due to the fact that Vermont does not actually issue concealed carry permits of any kind.

  8. It’s not emotion over facts for the MDA and their ilk. It’s emotionally fraught *lies* over facts.

    Heck, we all operate on emotion. It isn’t a bad thing. It’s the engine that drives us (which is why emotion-laden messages are so effective), and without it we’d have no joy and no reason to care about anything.

    But to continue the analogy, the problem with the MDA is that they’re using emotion to short-circuit people’s ignition circuits and send them down the wrong road with a map to a destination labeled “peace and security” when in fact they’re heading toward totalitarian dystopia.

    You need emotion, logic, and facts working together. Emotion is moving you whether you want it to or not. Without logic and facts to evaluate the road ahead and decide where you’re willing to let emotion take you, you have no resistance to people like Shannon tWatts who are flooding your GPS with bogus map directions.

    Okay, maybe a slight tangent from the topic at hand…

  9. It’s not one of my regular EDCs in hotter weather, but since it’s a special occasion, I’ll be wearing my Ed Brown Kobra Carry…in a Wilson Combat IWB shark leather holster…because I like irony.

  10. Maybe we should post pictures of people carrying while at the convention. Not that the antis would care much about facts.

  11. Anyone and everyone who’s able to should be carrying at the NRA convention. Leftists and gun grabbers are violent, emotionally unstable, mentally lacking, void of basic human decency, and are essentially terrorists. The only thing stopping them from conducting some kind of attack is their innate cowardice, but one of these days, some of them will go for it.

    • Why is the NRA having the firing pin removed? What are they afraid of? Someone may shoot someone? #SHOCKER

      • Repeat after me:

        Do not feed the Trolls… Do not feed the Trolls… Do not feed the Trolls…


        • Most locals are calling this the No Rational Argument convention. From the looks of the trogs in the photograph, a little gunplay would improve the gene pool.

          I also wonder about which inadequacy causes people to think that strapping a pistol on their hip turns them into a functioning human. I’ve never met a sane, well-adjusted person carrying a pistol. The absurd idea that situations grow safer the more guns are introduced makes me laugh. Yeah, I’m really going to feel safe boarding a plane when most of the passengers are packing. I was in a 12-mile traffic jam today with people riding the shoulder, cutting in after zipping down an exit ramp, shouting, cussing, and driving aggressively. IF ONLY there had been more guns!

    • So you are saying the NRA gun show has no issue with working firearms on the exhibit floor? Comical.

  12. I look forward to attending my fist NRA convention. I will be the black guy with the NRA hat. Very easy to find. See you there.

      • Sounds like it.

        Don’t worry, they’ll be gentle, first time and all… 🙂

        When you get back, consider submitting a write-up to TTAG on how it went…

        • So, TTAG is an impeccable source of facts without spin, but the NY Times perpetuates ridiculous myths? Let me think about this a moment.

  13. Strange as Music City Center I thought was posted. Kinda two faced to allow it while the convention is on but no other times. Bridgestone is at all times too, but it has nothing to do with alcohol being served as you are allowed to carry in Tennessee so long as you don’t have any alcohol in your system.

    Also, if anyone is interested, Davidson County which is the Nashville Metro district is one of the counties that opted out of the parks carry years ago, so carrying in a public park is prohibited. Though that is hopefully to change soon.

    • At least we can carry in the Bicentennial Mall State Park nearby, because it is a state park and carry is allowed by law. Unfortunately that is just one park, but all the prohibited city and county parks are supposed to be posted so that one knows not to cross the magic line.

  14. “(B) if signs are posted to that effect (they need to ask you to leave, at which point the crime for refusing is a misdemeanor trespassing charge).”

    Actually, in Tennessee, if you cross the invisible line into a properly posted location, you have violated state law. Signs carry weight in Tennessee. The quoted scenario describes the law in a state such as Georgia, where you can be asked to leave and charged with trespass if you don’t. That is a very important distinction that needs to be corrected, because it is my understanding that the signs carrying weight is not common in other states. The Tennessee law allows businesses to hide behind the skirts of government.

    In practice, if you are discovered carrying a gun in a posted location, they can choose to ask you to leave rather than calling the police, but everyone needs to be aware of the potential legal implications. Also, a simple gunbuster sign is a valid posting in Tennessee, and there will be many locations around the convention (restaurants and clubs) that are posted. Imagine if everyone carrying refused to patronize those locations during an event such as this; it might be a wake-up call for the owners.

    Another minor point is that the Music City Center allows each renter to decide about weapons carry, and for the posting to be legal, it would have to be at each major entrance (there are a lot at that place).

    • I can assure you that no intelligent restaurant or bar owner is going to encourage firearms in their establishment. Boycott them all you want; no one will care once the stench clears in 48 hours.

  15. It seems as though MSNBC and New York Daily News are reporting the same misinformation that Moms are. Clicking on the link to this page on facebook presented me with recommended pages with titles such as “Working guns prohibited at NRA convention” (MSNBC) and “NRA bans working guns at annual convention” (NYDN)

  16. Dammit, the media has fooled me again. I actually believed that the NRA was banning carry at its convention, including by CCW holders. Dammit dammit dammit!

    First it was Trayvon Martin the innocent little kid gunned down by a racist vigilante cop-wannabe. Then it was the college-bound gentle giant Mike Brown, shot in the back by a racist cop while his hands were raised in surrender. Now this.

    Why do I keep getting played like this? When am I going to learn?

    Please, somebody help me.

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