NRA convention draws criticism in Nashville - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

NRA convention draws criticism in Nashville

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

One of the largest conventions in Nashville history is on the books for 2015, but some people want the city to turn it away.

The National Rifle Association and 50,000 of its members will fill the new Music City Center, but opponents have petitioned the mayor to take back the gun lobby's invitation following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

The convention means thousands of booked hotel rooms and millions of dollars of revenue for the local economy.

The petition explains that while Nashville has a reputation as a welcoming city, it should not welcome what it calls "blood money."

Mayor Karl Dean has not commented on the petition, but some city leaders say this is not the way to go.

"Just because we host a convention like the NRA does not mean the city embraces or endorses their platform and positions," said Metro Councilman Jerry Maynard.

Maynard contends legislatures across the country have a responsibility to pass reasonable gun control laws, but he says Nashville is a friendly city and that welcome extends to people with different political views.

"Whether we agree with them politically or not should not be the threshold. The threshold should be we are a welcoming city, a hospitality city, and we want to welcome every group here whether we agree with them or not," Maynard said.

Maynard said the only groups he believes the city should not welcome for conventions are known hate groups.

The NRA released a statement Tuesday in its first public comments after the Newtown shooting. The group said: 

"The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters – and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown.

Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.

The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

The NRA also announced plans for a news conference Friday in Washington. No other details were released on the nature of the news conference.

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