3 Generations of local family attends NRA Annual meeting

The Domijan Boy Scout brothers at NRA's Annual Meeting
Paul and Anthony Domijan at the NRA Convention in St. Louis.

St. Louis, Missouri - While searching for Top Shot's Greg Littlejohn on the final day of NRA's Convention in St. Louis, I ran into the Domijan brothers at the Smith & Wesson booth. Paul (a Life Scout) and Anthony (an Eagle Scout) appeared to be on their own and completely in awe of their surroundings.

"No, our father and grandfather are over at the Henry booth," said Paul.

Residents of South St. Louis, Paul and Anthony are members of Boy Scout Troop 473. Enthused by their attendance, I inquired as to their impressions on the weekend.

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Earning a Golden Bullseye means you're product was put through the wringer. It means NRA Publications staff has used and abused your latest brainstorm to guarantee that it's the best in durability, reliability, innovation and value.

Shooting Illustrated designated Barrett's MRAD as their 2012 Golden Bullseye rifle of the year. While in St. Louis for the Annual Meeting, they stopped by the Barrett booth for a closer look at the Multi-Role Adaptive Design rifle.

NRA's David Keene and Kayne Robinson during the Hunters Rights seminar at the NRA Convention

St. Louis, Missouri - Headlined by NRA President David Keene and Executive Director of General Operations Kayne Robinson, this weekend's seminar covering “What NRA Does for Hunters” took place on Saturday at the America's Center Convention Complex. Sponsored by Cabela's, the 3 p.m. round table covered everything from the mounting influence of animal rights’ groups on hunting to the falling accessing public hunting lands.

"It's a big country, there's a lot of urbanization, and people are destroying places to hunt, places to shoot in preparation for hunting," said Robinson, "They create mountains of regulation that the average person is unwilling to put up with."

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Ted Nugent at the NRA convention in St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri - Ted Nugent, NRA Board Member, Second Amendment activist, New York Times bestselling author, Motor City Madman, acclaimed musician and member of the Bowhunters Hall of Fame - or "just a guitarist" as he says it - helped send off this year's NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis in style on Sunday afternoon.

In a theater packed with cheering fans, Nugent rocked out and spoke to the crowd about how great and important it is to exercise our right to bear arms.

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Patrick Dueling Pistols at NRA Convention's Antique Gun Showcase

St. Louis, Missouri - One of the first images from last weekend's NRA Convention in St. Louis was National Firearms Museum's Antique Guns Showcase. With experts ranging from Blue Book of Gun Values's Steven P. Fjestad, Guns & Ammo's Garry James and a contingency from the NRA Board of Directors, collectors were asked to bring in their favorite firearms for a look see. The potential payout was twofold.

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Gun For Hire owner Anthony Colandro at the NRA Convention
Gun For Hire owner Anthony Colandro at the NRA Convention.

St.Louis, Missouri - "Lars, Lars, I'm coming to Virginia."

Those were the words I heard on the very first day of NRA's Annual Meetings and Exhibits in St. Louis. I recognized the voice immediately — it's very distinctive. Sure enough, it was Colandro.

"I'm bringing fifteen people down from New Jersey for a personal tour of the National Firearms Museum by Phil Schreier himself," he smiled. "It's going to be epic."

An NRA Certified Instructor, Anthony Colandro owns New Jersey's Gun For Hire. One of the premiere firearm training facilities in the Northeast, Gun For Hire has six locations throughout the state with an eye on expanding into the Philadelphia area.

"We've had a lot of requests from people in the Philly area. There's a market to be served."

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NRA Convention in Houston

St. Louis, Missouri - And just like that, it the weekend is over. Building since Thursday until reaching a fever pitch Saturday night with the Celebration of American Values Freedom Experience, this year's 141st Annual Meeting in St. Louis is sure to be a memorable one.

Between the National NRA Foundation's Banquet & Auction, Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum, Annual Meeting of Members, NRA Country Jam II and so much more, there was something for everyone.

Last time we came to the Gateway to the West a new attendance record was set. While full attendance figures have not yet been tallied, it was no doubt a massive weekend in both turnout and entertainment.

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Rifles on display in the NRA convention's exhibit hall

St. Louis, Missouri - On the last day of the 2012 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, the exhibit hall saw throngs of visitors come for a last chance to explore the 340,000 sq. ft. and over 500 displays it had to offer.

If you didn't have a chance to make the trek to St. Louis and get in on the action this year, we'll be setting up shop in Houston next year before you know it.

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St. Louis, Missouri - Regular readers will remember that one of my insider sources this year for Top Shot on History Channel has been Venezuela's own Gabriela Franco. Called Gabby by her friends (and the rest of the world now that I think about it), this little sprite of spirit and spunk has been firing on all cylinders for a few decades now.

Starting off as a recreational air gun shooter, Gabby graduated from local range celebrity to national phenom in a few short years. After a run at the Sydney Olympics and gold medals in the Pan American games, she made her way to America and onto our television screens every Tuesday night this season on Top Shot.

Thanks to a little prodding and a lot of grace, Gabby was able to set aside an hour of show time yesterday to tell us about her journey. I know, you're sitting there thinking, "an hour"? You can blame that on her popularity. Thought the time on my recorder read only 15 minutes, the constant influx of fans and photos pushed the overall experience way past the initial intent.

We'll share that experience, as well as the photos, over the next few weeks. Until then ... here's Gabby!

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