President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the National Rifle Association Leadership Conference, Friday, April 28, 2017, in Atlanta.
Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Opinion: The NRA comes to Atlanta

With an impressive array of both American flag imagery and displays of high-tech armament, the 146th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits held forth downtown this weekend.

As is to be expected in this contentious time, protesters likely traveled alongside some of the estimated 80,000 National Rifle Association members expected in Atlanta.

Exactly what the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear firearms means in the 21st century has been hotly debated for a long time, and neither side shows signs of giving any quarter anytime soon. Even a pretty decisive U.S. Supreme Court decision of a few years ago has done little, if anything, to quell the argument over just how broadly gun rights extend across the American landscape.

Georgia is an understandable site for the NRA’s annual gathering, and not just because of Atlanta’s impressive convention facilities. We’re being closely watched by both sides of the gun debate as Gov. Nathan Deal weighs how to proceed on yet another bill that would allow carry of firearms onto many areas of the state’s public college campuses. Deal vetoed similar legislation last year.

It’s also ironic, in a way, that the NRA is meeting in Georgia this year, a state requires no training for concealed-carry licensees. The NRA was founded in good part on the belief that firearms users should be competent in the safe use of their weapons, and training remains an important part of the group’s mission to this day.

If nothing else, Georgia lawmakers might take note of that during the NRA’s time in our capital city.

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Andre Jackson, for the Editorial Board.