No guns, no problem for some NRA members to see Trump, Pence Friday in Dallas

Al Croy doesn't have a problem leaving his gun behind Friday in order to listen to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence talk to the National Rifle Association.

While the 72-year-old West Texas man believes the NRA annual meeting may be the "safest place to be," he does think it's better to be safe than sorry.

"It's probably a very good idea," Croy, of Midkiff, said of the U.S. Secret Service's mandate that weapons are not allowed in the arena when the country's top two elected leaders speak. "There might be one idiot to come in and ruin it for everybody."

Croy was among the people attending the first day of the NRA's annual meeting on Thursday who shared that opinion.

Initially, the Secret Service drew criticism from some gun control advocates when it took over security for the event and announced that guns, knives and other weapons would not be allowed during those speeches.

"You’re telling me to make the VP safe there aren’t any weapons around but when it comes to children they want guns everywhere?" Matt Deitsch, a survivor of the Valentine's Day school shooting in Parkland, Fla., initially posted on Twitter. "Can someone explain this to me? Because it sounds like the NRA wants to protect people who help them sell guns, not kids."

The powerful gun rights group fired back, noting it was not the NRA's decision, but standard operating procedure of the Secret Service.

NRA officials noted that the group's policy is to “allow carry in accordance with local laws at (the annual meeting), including (Friday's) leadership forum."

The NRA said people will be permitted to carry after the president and vice president have left the sold-out event.

Bob Cramblit, a 66-year-old who drove in from Oregon to attend the NRA gathering, said that's fine by him.

"Sometimes you have to draw the line," he said. "The Secret Service has their rules."

Most attendees realize that more than anything, these rules are geared to keep the president and vice president safe, said Doug Schmidgall, a 59-year-old from Springfield, Ill.

"For the security of the president of the United States," he said, "I don't have a problem with it at all."

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley
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