NASHVILLE -- In an editorial published on Friday, The New York Times editorial board accused the National Rifle Association of engaging in the “ultimate hypocrisy” by leaving attendees “disarmed” at its annual meeting in Nashville this weekend.
The only problem? The claim is completely false.
Here’s what the editorial board first claimed:
Seventy-thousand people are expected to attend the National Rifle Association’s convention opening on Friday in Tennessee, and not one of them will be allowed to come armed with guns that can actually shoot. After all the N.R.A. propaganda about how “good guys with guns” are needed to be on guard across American life, from elementary schools to workplaces, the weekend’s gathering of disarmed conventioneers seems the ultimate in hypocrisy.
A quick glance at the NRA’s website would have cleared up any confusion. The site clearly states that convention goers are more than welcome to carry their firearms in accordance to state and local gun laws.
The New York Times issued this correction about one day later:
An editorial on Friday about the National Rifle Association’s convention incorrectly described the rules for carrying concealed firearms at the event. Carrying is prohibited at one of the main convention venues, not all of them.
As The Federalist’s Sean Davis noted, the correction itself includes another questionable statement. The convention venue in question is the Bridgestone Arena, a privately-owned venue that prohibits firearms. Only one NRA event, a Saturday night event featuring Alan Jackson, took place there. To call it one of the convention’s “main” venues might be a stretch.
But in an effort to determine just how wrong the editorial board was, TheBlaze surveyed 72 people at the NRA’s annual meeting in Nashville on Saturday. We asked them two simple questions: "Are you a concealed carry permit holder? If so, are you packing?”
Out of the 72 people surveyed, 62 said they were concealed carry permit holders. Of those 62, 32 people — over 50 percent of the permit holders — revealed they were carrying firearms at the convention. Many of the concealed carry permit holders who weren’t carrying told TheBlaze they only decided not to carry because they were attending the Alan Jackson concert at Bridgestone Arena.
If the poll numbers hold true to the rest of the roughly 70,000 convention attendees, that would mean as many as 30,000 people could have been armed at the NRA convention — making the editorial board’s initial claim painfully incorrect.
In a statement provided to TheBlaze, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said, “Unfortunately, this isn’t the first — and it most certainly won’t be the last — time the vaunted New York Times has made a glaring mistake on something NRA-related.”
TheBlaze's Mike Opelka contributed to this report.