Photo Essay

  • Attendees await speakers at the National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 25, 2014.
  • Two men check out a rifle at a booth during the annual convention for the NRA in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 25, 2014.
  • A woman peruses handguns at the Smith & Wesson booth at the NRA's annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Chris and Marty Welch of Cadillac, Mich. show off their flag detail rifles while heading to the NRA's annual convention in Indianapolis on April 25, 2014.
  • Convention attendees check out the American Tactical booth during the NRA's annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 25, 2014.
  • Heather Ross of Austin, Texas reads names of those who have been killed by guns at the "No More Names" vigil outside the NRA Leadership Forum at the NRA's annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Convention attendees walk the floor at the NRA's annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 25, 2014.
  • Rick Santorum signs copies of his book "Blue Collar Conservatives" at the NRA's annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 25, 2014.
  • An attendee looks through the scope of a rifle at the NRA's annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 25, 2014.
  • A woman shows her American flag painted nails at the NRA's annual convention April 25, 2014, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • NRA members wait to vote on the 76 members of the Board of Directors at the NRA's annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26, 2014.
  • An attendee salutes during the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the NRA's annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26, 2014.
  • People listen to speakers at the 1 Million Moms Against Gun Control rally outside the NRA's Annual Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26, 2014.
  • A woman looks at a firearm at the DSA booth at the NRA annual convention, April 26, 2014, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Pictures of President Barack Obama and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg are seen on display wearing t-shirts that are for sale at the NRA annual convention, April 26, 2014, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • A John Wayne look-a-like at the NRA booth, April 26, 2014, at the NRA's annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • NRA Stand and Fight Rally at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26, 2014.
  • Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and CEO of the NRA, is seen with Sarah Palin at the NRA Stand and Fight Rally at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26, 2014.
  • 12-Year-Old Jacob Lavin and 14-year-old Donovan Bohn, in the NRA cap, look at rifles at the Bushmaster booth during Family Day at the NRA's annual convention, April 27, 2014, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • A sign barring press from entering sits in front of the doors to an event with Ted Nugent at the NRA annual convention, April 27, 2014, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Attendees in the exhibition hall at the NRA's annual convention, April 27, 2014, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Stars of the new TV show Hog Dawgs at the NRA's annual convention, April 27, 2014, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The show features women who hunt in an effort to help and encourage women get out and hunt.
  • 4-Year-Old Violet Ogle posses for a picture being taken by her parent in the exhibitors hall at the NRA annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26, 2014.
  • An attendee, with an NRA belt, in the exhibition hall at the NRA’s annual convention, April 27, 2014, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
/

NRA convention draws gun-lovers and vote-seekers

Updated

Tens of thousands of firearms enthusiasts gathered in Indianapolis over the weekend for the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual meeting, a celebration of gun culture that’s also a magnet for Republican candidates looking to court the movement’s support.

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin delivered the most discussed line of the weekend at a rally Saturday when she called on the government to return to torturing suspected terrorists.

“Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we’d baptize terrorists,” Palin said.

On Friday, a bevy of potential GOP presidential candidates spoke, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Senator Rick Santorum, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Others, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, participated remotely by video.

The gun rights movement had plenty to celebrate over the weekend. Despite a push to restrict assault weapons, large ammunition magazines, and expand background checks in the wake of mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut, states have mostly moved to expand the ability of residents to legally obtain and carry firearms in recent months. Organizers of the NRA meeting hope to carry that momentum to Congress, where they’re pushing for new laws that would force state and local governments to recognize gun permits issued elsewhere.

The movement’s recent successes are largely attributable to the intense political support generated by Second Amendment activists through groups like the NRA, whose clout forced politicians to think carefully before supporting even modest gun control measures that enjoy overwhelming majority support among the public.

 

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography