Former Dallas Mayor Warns NRA to Move Its May Convention to Another City

A Dallas city council member is calling for the National Rifle Association to move its upcoming annual convention out of Dallas. Former mayor and current Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway told reporters that "there will be marches and demonstrations should they come to Dallas."

The 147th NRA annual convention, which will include the legal sale of guns, is slated to take place May 4-6 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. The citywide event is expected to draw 20,000 attendees for 50,000 room nights and generate almost $24 million in direct sales and a total  economic impact of $42 million for the city of Dallas. 

"It is a tough call when you ask the NRA to reconsider coming to Dallas," Caraway acknowledged, according to local TV station ABC 13. "But it is putting all citizens first and getting them to come to the table and elected officials to come to the table, and to address this madness now."

Caraway's call comes in the wake of the deadly shooting last week at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead. But he also cited the five Dallas police officers that were gunned down in 2016 and the fatal shooting of a mother of six in November 2017. His objections, however, are not shared by other Dallas officials. A spokesperson for Democratic Mayor Mike Rawlings said Caraway is entitled to his opinion but noted that a contract was signed in 2012 allowing the NRA to use the city's convention center.

The convention center rental for the NRA event, according to VisitDallas, is $410,618. The city of Dallas, which owns and manages the center, gave the NRA a $22,480 discount as an incentive, while VisitDallas paid $387,778.

The NRA, for its part, said it has no intention of changing its convention plans. Andrew Arulanandam, the association's public-affairs director, told a local ABC news affiliate that politicians cannot "tell the NRA not to come to their city. Dallas, like every American city and community, is populated by NRA members. Our members work in fire stations and police departments. They save lives in local hospitals and own businesses in communities urban and rural throughout the country."