The National Rifle Association (NRA) has drawn in nearly all of the 2016 Republican candidates to its annual conference, this year being held in Nashville, Tennessee. One notable exception is Rand Paul, who was not extended an invitation due to his association with gun rights groups, such as Gun Owners of America, that are often critical of the NRA, accusing it of not being strong enough in pushing to expand Second Amendment rights.

Report from Fox News:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio took aim Friday at President Obama and Washington lawmakers over gun control measures during a speech at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Tennessee.

“The constitutional right to bear arms is constantly in jeopardy,” Rubio told the crowd during his 10-minute speech. “Our people have a right that must never be denied.”

Rubio, who is expected to formally enter the race for the White House on Monday, was among a group of potential GOP presidential candidates speaking at the Nashville convention.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took a jab at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s record, telling attendees, “She actually gave Russia a reset button! A reset button!”

“I wonder what her campaign slogan will be?” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal asked the crowd: “It may be – what difference does it make?”

Among the other headliners: From Texas, Sen. Ted Cruz and former Gov. Rick Perry; from Florida, former Gov. Jeb Bush; former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; and neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who officially launched his presidential campaign Tuesday, did not attend due to a campaign event in Iowa. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has a C-rating from the NRA, also did not attend.

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence were scheduled to attend but canceled their appearances.

Many of the full speeches delivered by the candidates are at the links below:

Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee

Scott Walker’s video was not yet available. I’m sure I’m missing some, leave a comment below if I’ve left a candidate off the list. Note that neither Rand Paul nor Chris Christie were in attendance as neither were invited.


  1. The NRA is a pack of liars. They claim they didn’t invite Rand because, shucks, they didn’t have room for ALL the candidates. Liars. There are only TWO candidates now, and one is Rand.

    He has an “A” rating from the NRA, so it’s not a matter of his positions.

    Turns out, it’s because he ALSO has ties to the National Association for Gun Rights. It’s like not being allowed to speak to a Catholic group because you’re known to have Baptist friends.

  2. I’m guessing that they don’t like being comparatively soft on the matter?

    I’m also wondering if they’ll allow firearms in this year as I don’t believe they have in the past.

    • They allow anyone with a concealed carry permit under Tennesse law to carry at this conference. That decision is usually up to the venue. In this case, the venue leaves it up to the event organizer so the NRA, naturally, is simply following local and state laws.

      When they’ve held their annual conference in other states and venues, the laws and regulations vary.

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