The right to bear arms will draw out-of-towners by the tens of thousands to Nashville this week. But not all venues at the National Rifle Association annual meeting welcome concealed firearms.
Those with carry permits are in the clear inside the Music City Center. But the big nightly concerts are across the street at Bridgestone Arena.
"Bridgestone Arena prohibits the possession of firearms," according to a disclaimer on the NRA website. "When carrying your firearm, remember to follow all federal, state and local laws."
It’s not unusual for parts of the NRA convention to be off limits to guns. Last year in Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium enforced its firearm ban. In 2010, the entire convention area in Charlotte restricted concealed carrying.
NRA member Dan Utz of the Chicago area says he tries never to patronize establishments that don’t allow guns. In this case, he says he may have to break his rule.
“I paid for the tickets and they’re non-refundable, so I will probably go," Utz said. "Had I known before, I can’t say for sure that I wouldn’t have, but I would have strongly considered not [going].”
This week in Nashville, a few downtown hotels also are sticking to their bans on guns. The Courtyard Marriott and the Sheraton won’t allow firearms, even with permits.