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The NRA Carry Guard Expo is first and foremost about training. So I’d be remiss if I failed to survey the numerous seminars providing education to the firearms faithful. I was, unfortunately, running a little late for the seminar by Brazilian Jiu Jitsu master Royce Gracie on self-defense techniques, and the door was already closed when I showed up.

I presented my ticket to the Wisconsin Center usher. He scanned it and confirmed that I’d ponied up the $75 fee to attend the two-hour seminar by the MMA legend and firearms enthusiast.

“Do you have any keys, or other metal objects?” the gatekeeper asked. I raised an eyebrow. “Well, I’ve got more than just keys on me,” I replied. That’s when I saw the wand. A plainclothes security type revealed that as this was a “hands on” training session. Metal objects such as keys, knives and firearms were not allowed.

Which made sense. Although . . . if firearms were prohibited at a Carry Guard expo event, surely the NRA would signal the fact in large font in the promotional materials and signs scattered throughout the venue. Or, at the least, the gun ban would have been mentioned when I picked up the tickets at Will Call the night before.

Nope. And there were no facilities available to secure firearms during the class. And my vehicle was parked far enough away that going out and back would take too much time to be worthwhile.

A quick conversation with NRA staff at the ticketing desk revealed that an e-mail had been sent out the week before advising participants of the no firearms rule for this class, as well as the one featuring hand-to-hand expert Steve Tarani. (Google’s algorithm had helpfully flagged the notification as “spam.”)

To their credit, the NRA people were apologetic. They refunded my money and offered to let me attend a different pay-for seminar for free. Still, it seems to me that a convention dedicated to training average citizens in the art of armed self defense should draw a little more attention to the fact that certain seminars were no-go zones for gun carriers.

I recognize my own responsibility. But as I said, it wasn’t clear if the class was going to involve physical activity. Since I missed the email and hadn’t seen anything to the contrary, I figured concealed carry was worth a shot (so to speak). Besides, I don’t know Milwaukee, and I wasn’t keen on walking around without a gun. Strangely enough.

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  1. They should have at least allowed you to secure your weapon and other metal objects in a bag in the room with you. I can understand not actually having any metal or sharp objects on your person while actually practicing Jiu Jitsu.

    The NRA events coordinators must be slipping.

    • I fully agree with you and Geoff PR that there should be lockers at the door to store forbidden objects. This should be standard procedure whenever such restrictions are established. And there should be at least one staff person overseeing the lockers, and if there aren’t enough people on staff or if a qualified volunteer doesn’t step up, hire a guard.

  2. “Nope. And there were no facilities available to secure firearms during the class.”

    That’s a *fail* right there.

    They could have locally rented a bank of lockers for such contingencies.

    Perhaps a pointed suggestion to them in an e-mail is in order?

    • What? The FUDD NRA denied carrying to a CARRY GUARD seminar? How is it that this does not surprise me? I understand the no weapons on body while hand to hand training…but you couldn’t just leave it in your bag? There was no type of facility where they could check in and out firearms for the people who paid to attend a NRA class on weapons, primarily firearms?
      I wouldn’t piss in a NRA board member if they were on fire. There are plenty of actual GUN RIGHTS groups out there that would appreciate the support.

      • Your more forgiving that I. I’m not real sure I understand why no firearms, let alone the rest.

        Its a seminar right? At an NRA sponsored event?? For people interested in CarryGuard???

        I dont quite understand why these people, who work for the NRA of all people, who are likely the most responsible of gun owners, can’t be trusted to be armed.

        I’m clearly not understanding something on this one.

  3. Did they provide a means to store the keys? If not someone would be forced to deliberately lock their keys in the trunk of their car in order to attend and then be forced to pay a locksmith to unlock their trunk.

  4. A customized mobile safe storage vehicle could make money at such an event by renting safe storage lock boxes for events like these. Perhaps NRA should either provide storage or partner with a person or group that will provide storage either free or for a fee in order to help to insure that those NRA customers are not needlessly endangered by potentially being disarmed indefinitely.

  5. Would they have denied you entry if you only had your keys? If so would the NRA require the attendees to deliberately lock their keys in their vehicle or residence in the case of a pedestrian? Is the NRA responsible for the cost of locksmiths if they require attendees to leave their keys at their residence or in their vehicle? I think so and I think they are also responsible for the safety of the attendees until the attendees are able to rearm themselves.

  6. Actually, the “no live firearms or knives” policy is pretty standard practice at any professional training center that teaches hard skills like self-defense, force-on-force training, etc. And it is for good reason, because if a live weapon is mistakenly introduced into these situations, the consequences can be catastrophic. (Many years ago, I was participating in a law enforcement training event where an officer was shot by a live 9mm round in what was supposed to be a Simunitions force-on-force scenario. Fortunately, he was wearing body armor which prevented serious injury, but if the round had hit him literally one inch away from where it did, he would almost certainly have been dead. Needless to say, this incident resulted in major changes to the way this particular agency handles this type of training).

    It’s unfortunate that you were inconvenienced, but the NRA did send you an email laying out the rules, and it’s not their fault you didn’t get it. I agree that having additional signage and maybe providing some weapons lockers located nearby would have made sense, especially at an event where many participants are expected to be armed.

    • Yes, it is for the best of reasons. Just ask Mary Knowlton. Oops, sorry, you can’t ask her because she’s dead, shot and killed by Punta Gorda, Florida, policeman Lee Coel about a year ago. This was in a “shoot/don’t shoot” scenario demonstration.

      • One as to be a special kind of stupid (or ignorant) to make that mistake. I understand that it happens, but that makes it no less dumb.
        Another thing, there really is no need for civilians to be running shoot/dont shoot exercises with simunitions against real people. Some rotating random hogans ally style targets at a range would do fine, as would plastic replicas or airsoft guns that weigh 1/3 what a real pistol does with a big orange tip.
        I think the main reason people were (are) aggravated is that the largest gun rights org in the country has proven repeatedly that it does not trust its own members to carry firearms at their own events, yet will expect you to believe that they think you should be able to carry anywhere else you go without question.
        USCCA and GOA is where its at this century…donating to the NRA is just chipping in on scotch and steaks for the board of FUDDS.

  7. Google marked a firearms-related email as spam … what a surprise. My (very large, nationwide) ISP marks all firearm-related emails as spam, including ones from well-known retailers such as Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops. And despite reporting every one of them as “not spam” to my ISP, any firearm-related email is still automatically marked as spam. Still get plenty of obvious spam (“male ehancement”, etc.) and fishing emails, but gun-related never make it past the filter.

    Coincidence? Methinks not ….

  8. “A plainclothes security type revealed that as this was a “hands on” training session. Metal objects such as keys, knives and firearms were not allowed.

    Which made sense.”

    How does this make sense? I have car keys, belt buckle, loose change, etc. Are they gonna confiscate that at the door and hold it for me? No, they aren’t. Am I supposed to take my keys back to my car? The NRA can suck it.

  9. It would only take one idiot concealing a P320 in an Uncle Mike’s holster to ruin that class if the pistol was dislodged doing some BJJ drill. I also check my spam filter every few days just to make sure I haven’t missed anything important.

    • Well goody for you.
      Meanwhile, back in the real world, requiring one to lock their keys in their car deliberately in order to attend a paid for event, and then relying on google to inform them of this retarded policy, is idiocracy of the stupidest possible order. I expect that watering plants with gatorade is the only possible next step.


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