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Friday, May 14, 2010

Sarah Palin To Take NRA Center Stage Today In Charlotte, NC

Sarah Palin Headlines Today's NRA Convention In Charlotte

Any city would love to have a convention the size of the National Rifle Association that opens today in uptown Charlotte with big name speakers including Sarah Palin.

Palin is scheduled to speak at 2:45 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena. will carry today's speeches live starting at 12:45 p.m. with Wayne LaPierre.

Tim Newman, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority that operates the convention center, says the NRA gets to use the huge facility essentially for free.

The NRA pays for the set-up costs and food service and, in return, delivers 70,000 people to Charlotte -- people who have to stay somewhere and buy food.

"If the average person who came spent $300 and you have 65 or 70,000 -- that is a $20 million hit right there," Newman said.

At the sprawling convention center Thursday, people were already walking the floors, buying tickets for various events and, in some cases, greeting old friends who come together once a year.

In the main hall where the NRA boasts of 10 acres of guns on display under one roof, workers were putting the finishing touches on the displays.

Fears that the convention would be one giant armed camp are unfounded, Newman says. Signs are posted warning that guns and weapons cannot be carried inside the convention center.

None of the guns on display can be purchased at the center and carried out into the streets of Charlotte.

"No, these are for display purposes," Newman said. "I think you'll see online sales and things coming from the exhibits.'

Hyatt Gun Shop is offering free shuttle service from the convention center to his licensed shop for anyone who sees a gun and wants to buy it while in town.

Uptown businesses are hoping to benefit from the convention, which is drawing well-known speakers like former vice presidential candidate Sara Palin and Fox News pundit Glenn Beck.

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Sources: CNN, NRA, WCNC, Wikipedia, Google Maps

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