HOUSTON - At the NRA s annual convention Saturday night, there was a sense of solidarity when conservative host and author Glenn Beck took center stage.
Beck drew controversy earlier in the week, when he said the shooting at Houston s biggest airport had been a set-up, and accused it of being part of a leftist conspiracy.
Speaking to a crowd that numbered in the thousands, he praised Texas and took aim at big government.
They feel they must regulate us until we comply, Beck said. I will not comply.
It s not just the Democrats; it s the Republicans as well. The problems are everywhere, he said.
This weekend more than 70,000 people are attending the convention. For many, it is all about the latest and greatest in guns.
But others, such as graduate student Kyle Coplen, are on a mission.
Earlier this year, he heard about 93-year old veteran Elbert Wood of Houston, whose home was burglarized while he was at the doctor s office.
It inspired Coplen to start the Armed Citizen Project, which arms qualified residents in high crime communities with shotguns, free of charge.
The first community to try it will be Woods next week.
We ll put signage up in those neighborhoods letting criminals know that they are playing Russian roulette with their lives and committing crimes in those neighborhoods and really maximizing the deterrent effects of arming those citizens, Coplen said.
At the same time, NRA members could not ignore the history being made elsewhere in Texas. In Austin, the state s House considered more than a dozen bills with the words firearm or handgun in them.
The three-day convention wraps up Sunday and the event was not without protest.
Outside, the names of thousands of gun violence victims were read over the weekend.