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Wednesday, Oct. 4
The Indiana Daily Student

NRA convention shows diversity in gun owners


Packed into the Indiana Convention Center this weekend, gun enthusiasts wound their way around the National Rifle Association’s exhibition rooms. They handed books to Rick Santorum at a signing on Friday, learned how to cook big game and attended seminars on effective concealed carry methods.

The stereotypical gun owner may be a middle-aged man, but the visitors to the convention weren’t just men.

Chris Pollreiz is a sales representative from Reuger, a gun manufacturer. He stood behind a display of various-sized weapons. At one point, he picked up a wooden replica that was swirled with pink pigment and handed it to a father, who then handed it to his young daughter.

“We do get a lot of family traffic,” Pollreiz said. “We are offering a new line (soon), targeting women and youth.”

A 2011 Gallup poll showed that the number of women with guns are increasing: 43 percent of gun owners are female.

George Lang works for Second Call Defense, a membership program that protects those who use their guns in self-defense. Depending on coverage, up to $250,000 can be given to a person for civil damages and accidental shooting protection.

Lang said his daughter was the one who lit his passion for the Constitution and the second amendment.

“Six years ago, I was a republican,” Lang said. “My daughter taught me libertarianism at age 12. Now she’s starting her own chapter of an NRA club at New York University.”

Lang said he felt his daughter’s dedication was “gutsy.”

Mike Grandt, another sales representative, said the diversity at the convention kept taking him by surprise.

“I keep thinking they’re all old guys, but then I see kids,” Grandt said. “I mean the majority are white. But I saw a group of Hispanics, and eight or ten black guys yesterday.”

The NRA also has another demographic to consider: youth. Women aren’t the only rising influx to the association’s numbers.

The NRA is often attacked for its homogenous demographic of adult white males, but it is seeking to change that.

In 2013, NRA News announced that Colin Noir – who is black – would be joining a speaker series aimed at presenting more people of color to the public.

“Obama can’t be there (to protect me),” Noir said in a video on YouTube for the NRA. “Guy telling me to get rid of my guns when I need them the most, isn’t my friend, isn’t looking out for my best interests and doesn’t speak for me or the community that I’m part of.”

But the majority of money for outreach isn’t spent on minorities. It’s spent on children.

More than 65 percent of foundation grants are spent on youth programs, according to an article on, a site run by gun enthusiasts.

Programs such as shooting camps, firearm safety training and marksmanship lessons are all offered to youth. It makes sense – for an association to continue to exist, so must its members.

A mother who did not wish to be identified watched as her daughter climbed into a camouflage-covered vehicle at the convention.

“We brought her on purpose,” she said. “We’re getting her started early."

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