Open Carry at the NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky

By Dean Weingarten

Open Carry at the NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky
Open Carry at the NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -( The NRA annual meeting is fast approaching.  This year it will be in Louiseville, Kentucky, starting on May 20th, 2016.

My colleague, Liston Matthews has inquired and has determined that lawfully carried firearms will be permitted in the Kentucky Exposition Center.  The NRA quite properly requires that attendees follow the law regarding carry in Kentucky.  Here is an explanation of the open carry law From

Open Carry (Without a Valid Permit/License)

Open Carry is legal in Kentucky. Not all places listed in the “Places Off Limits” apply to those who are Open Carrying. It is up to you to know what laws apply to you when Open Carrying. When open carrying, be prepared for Police Officers to question you as open carrying firearm gets their attention. See the “RV/Car Carry Without a Permit” section for carrying in a vehicle. 

The state preempts all firearm laws in the state and local authorities can’t have Laws/Ordinances against open carry. Remember that if you enter any property and the owner/responsible person ask you to leave you must leave. Failure to leave can result in Trespass Charges. Kentucky Government White Paper on Open Carry can be seen Here. The Minimum age for Open Carry is 18.

 In some states Open Carry is forbidden in places where those with a valid permit/license can carry. This is not the last word on Open Carry in this state. Check at or go to Google and type in State Name Open Carry or Open Carry State Name for a search for open carry info in this state. Check with the State’s RKBA Organization/s. Also see “Attorney General Opinions/Court Cases” Section for any written opinions/Cases on Open Carry.

At the last NRA annual meeting in Nashville, there was a nasty Internet meme that claimed the NRA was banning people from carrying guns at the Annual Meeting.  That idea was used as potent propaganda by disarmists to claim that the NRA was being hypocritical.  I and others killed that story with pictures and articles.  This year, we should make certain that the world knows that we are not ashamed of being armed citizens.

I wanted some local knowledge to confirm what was on  I asked a seasoned open carrier at if he had any wisdom to impart about open carry at the coming NRA meeting.  Here is his reply:

There is no reason anyone should shy away from OC at the NRA convention. It looks like almost all of the events are to be held at the Ky State Fairgrounds and Exposition Center or the Louisville Convention Center, downtown. The NRA Women’s Leadership Forum Luncheon & Auction will be at the Marriott Hotel adjacent to the Convention Center. The NRA-ILA Dinner and Auction and the Prayer Breakfast will be held at the Galt House Hotel’s restaurant, but I doubt that any of us would be interested in those, the dinner is $500 a ticket and the Breakfast is $40. The Toby Keith concert on Saturday night will be at the Yum Center, also a state building. I don’t know how Toby Keith feels about OC. Friday night the NRA Jam will be outdoors, at the Bellvedere. That is owned by Louisville Metro and they are preempted from any firearms regulation. The Galt House is private property and can do what they want, but the Fairgrounds and the Convention Center are both state owned facilities and they do not prohibit guns, no matter how they are carried. The only other possibility would be for the NRA to ban all guns or just ban OC. What are the odds of either of those happening?

The last time the convention was in Louisville, I OC’ed everyday. I expect to do so this year. I hope that others will join me.

I will be open carrying at the annual meeting in Louisville.  With the constant threat of extralegal action by President Barack Obama, we should consider open carry at the meeting to be a political act.  Consider wearing your prettiest handgun.  It is unlikely that you will be under physical attack at the NRA meeting; but you will be under constant political attack.

Open carry with holstered handguns is an effective way to strike back politically.

If you are concerned about open carry and safety, carry your nicest pistol in its prettiest holster without a round in the chamber, or completely unloaded if you like.

We should refrain from unholstering pistols, even if someone really wants to see it.  Cameras will be everywhere, and angle shots will be taken to make a gun in the hand look unsafe.

Do not do it.  Keep the pistol holstered.  Be safe.  Open carry at the NRA annual meeting is strong, symbolic, protected, political speech in favor of the Second Amendment.  Use it to promote your rights.

Definition of  disarmist

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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It was not in Knoxville last year, it was in Nashville. PS Open carry is silly and puts you at every disadvantage.


It’s not about the tactic of open carry, it’s about the RIGHT to do so.


That’s exactly RIGHT!!! The RIGHT to BARE/CARRY…….Openly if ya choose!


It’s BEAR for Christ sakes.


The NRA continues to send mixed messages about open carry. We got no support on the open carry issue in Texas from the NRA or the TSRA. Gun rights organizations can’t pick and chose which gun rights to defended. We will not beg government for our rights, PERIOD.

2War Abn Vet

While I support the right of those who want to carry openly; I would not consider it to be a good idea. It is the equivalent of carrying a sign that reads, “shoot me first”. It is far better for the miscreant to be surprised to find that the intended victim is armed.


First off, there is no evidence at all that open carry is even remotely like wearing a “shoot me first” sign. At least as good a case can be made for OC being like wearing a sign that says, “Don’t start trouble here or you’ll get shot.” There is no real evidence either way beyond some anecdotes; however, there is no unusual incidence of OC folks actually getting shot in the many states that allow it. If you are the target of a miscreant intent on doing you harm, you will have given up the “surprise” element if you OC;… Read more »


I would love to be able to OC at the NRA shindig in KY. Unfortunately, because I live in a Free state (VT) that happens to live not only by the US Consitution but by its own “uppity” Constitution, and it so happens that there are questionable states between here and KY that don’t value even the US document worth a damn and thus certainly don’t value that of VT (i.e. no carry reciprocity), I can’t carry my handgun at the NRA event. Perhaps I should at least wear my empty holster as a gesture of some sort of mute… Read more »

Jim Macklin

Certainly you can TRANSPORT your arms to Kentucky and open carry at the NRA convention.
Many Vermont residents get a New Hampshire or Florida non-resident license which is an option.