Around 80,000 gun enthusiasts and more than 800 exhibitors are expected to pack the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis for the three-day event, the Indianapolis Star reported. It will mark the third straight year that Trump will deliver the keynote address, where he is expected to champion the rights of gun owners.
“Donald Trump is the most enthusiastic supporter of the Second Amendment to occupy the Oval Office in our lifetimes," Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), said in a statement. “President Trump’s Supreme Court appointments ensure that the Second Amendment will be respected for generations to come. Our members are excited to hear him speak and thank him for his support for our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.”
"Donald Trump is the most enthusiastic supporter of the Second Amendment to occupy the Oval Office in our lifetimes."
— Chris Cox, executive director, NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action
President Donald Trump speaks at the National Rifle Association annual convention in Dallas last year. (Associated Press)
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke at last year’s convention in Dallas. During his speech, Trump assured gun owners that he would protect their Second Amendment rights, according to the paper.
"Your Second Amendment rights are under siege," Trump told the cheering audience in Dallas. "But they will never, ever be under siege as long as I am your president."
Trump has supported some gun control measures in the past. Last year, his administration imposed a ban on bump stocks, attachments that enable semiautomatic rifles to fire in rapid bursts. Although, he most recently threatened to veto two Democratic gun control bills.
This year's convention comes as the NRA faces outside pressure and internal problems. The group has seen its legislative agenda stall amid a series of mass shootings — including a massacre at a Parkland, Fla., high school in February 2018 that left 17 dead and launched a youth movement against gun violence.
It's also grappling with infighting in its ranks, money problems and investigations into whether Russian agents courted officials and funneled money through the group.
"I've never seen the NRA this vulnerable," said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that advocates for gun control measure.
The convention will run through the weekend and conclude Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.