According to the AP, the NRA’s announced plans to hold an annual fundraising dinner and auction at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, TN, where the AP reports the organization “planned to auction off firearms,” have been dashed due to the venue’s no firearms policy. The event was scheduled for April 17th, the second day of the NRA’s annual convention and “touted as one of the premiere events of the convention.” It will be held at another location.
The AP piece by Kristin M. Hall, which can be read in full here, reports that:
- The NRA had been publicizing the fundraising dinner and auction “for weeks,” including posting “an image of a woman displaying a rifle in a crowded room” on the event’s website. But, after a recent discussion between the NRA and the Country Music Museum about the museum’s no firearms policy, a spokesperson for the museum confirmed that the event “will not take place at the site.”
- The Country Music Museum’s no firearms policy “prohibits firearms, loaded or unloaded, or other weapons, in the building whether visible or concealed.” According to the NRA’s director of media relations, the museum asked the NRA to “change our firearms policy at the auction.” The NRA declined.
- Tickets cost $500 for the event, which the NRA bills to include “celebrities, industry executives and a host of Second Amendment supporters from around the country.” The NRA says auction items include “engraved firearms, suppressors, knives, fine art, hunts, optics and trips from around the globe,” and all proceeds go to the NRA’s lobbying arm.
The museum’s decision comes at a time when, according to the AP, “country music artists have distanced themselves from the gun rights organization” and “the NRA Country website that once listed dozens of country artists now doesn’t name any artist.” Belmont University professor Don Cusic, a country music historian, said that country music stars “went from seeing the NRA as an opportunity” to “a big liability” after recent mass shootings. This trend is evidenced by some of country music’s biggest stars calling out the NRA and advocating for gun safety policies.
The NRA now heads into its annual convention in turmoil––facing charges by New York State’s Department of Financial Services, under investigation by the U.S. Senate and attorneys general in New York and DC, and locked in various lawsuits with former partner Ackerman McQueen. The organization’s political influence also appears to be waning. In 2018, the American people elected a gun sense majority in the House of Representatives, leading to the first major gun safety legislation to pass either chamber of Congress in two decades; in 2019, Everytown for Gun Safety outspent the NRA in its home state of Virginia, flipping the statehouse to a gun sense majority and leading to background check and red flags legislation; and in 2020, polling already shows that gun safety is a top priority for voters in battleground states.
The NRA convention begins on April 16th in Nashville, TN.