NRA has record conference turnout, new president
(CNN) — The National Rifle Association said Monday they saw a record number of attendees at their annual meeting in Houston last weekend with 86,228 attending, up almost 15,000 from last year's annual meeting in St. Louis, according to the group's spokesman Andrew Arulanandam.
The NRA had estimated 75,000 would attend.
Former President David Keene rounded out his two-year term as president of the NRA at the meeting. His replacement is former Alabama lawyer James "Jim" Porter, who officially assumes the position Monday as part of a formal rotation.
While Keene and the NRA have vocalized excitement about Porter's new role, they have also stated that Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre will maintain his position as the unofficial public face of the organization, a role emphasized in the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooting in December 2012.
Porter has a deep history with the NRA. The Alabama lawyer served as the NRA's second vice president, first vice president, and was also a longtime member of the organization's legal affairs committee. In addition, his father served as president of the organization from 1959 to 1961, according to his NRA bio.
As president, Porter is expected to lead the NRA's charge against court challenges of gun control legislation in light of the Newtown school shooting massacre. In his former position as vice president of the board, Porter was vocal about his criticism of the Obama administration's role in gun control.
In a speech to the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association in June 2012, as reported by The New York Times, Porter condemned President Obama saying, "I get so sick and tired of all these people with this fake president that we got, who wants to say 'he hasn't done anything bad for gun owners.' I say, let me tell you something bad that he's done. His entire administration is anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-Second Amendment."
In the same speech, Porter told the NYSRPA that the NRA was prepared for a prolonged fight against gun-control advocates. "I can tell you one thing, we're whooping their asses right and left, up and down...this fight has just begun" Porter said
Porter takes on the role of NRA president at a turbulent time for the organization in Washington and in state capitals. While the organization saw the U.S. Senate defeat a bill that would have expanded background checks for gun sales, there are attempts to revive that legislation which it will fight and it will continue to battle many state-passed laws that call for the banning of large ammunition magazines and the expansion of background checks in gun sales.
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