By Lars Dalseide | May 4 2013 12:20

Governors, Senators and Fighter Pilots address the NRA Convention in Texas

Texas governor Rick Perry at the 2013 NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits in Houston

Houston, Texas - Most refer to it as the NRA Convention. Back at headquarters, and in reality, it is called the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits. That's where the questions begin.

Why do you say meetings instead of meeting? Isn't it just one big meeting?

Yes and no … more on the no side. For while it is an NRA 3-Day weekend, the primary focus are the meetings, seminars and exhibits put together for our more than five million members. Meetings like the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum.

Held on the third floor of George R. Brown Convention Center, the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum featured national leaders such as Texas Governor Rick Perry, Former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.

After welcoming introductions by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, Governor Perry opened with the show with a zinging high-caliber video opening from a favorite outdoor Texas rifle range. Hand over head, waving to the crowd, he had everyone in the plam of his hands by the time he said,

"Welcome to Texas ladies and gentlemen!" 

The Friday afternoon meeting was the first truly big event for the National Rifle Association. A gathering of political heavyweights (like Senator Ted Cruz and former presidential candidate Rick Santorum) seldom seen outside of presidential nominating conventions, the Leadership Forum provided attendees with a background of today's gun debate and a background of the speakers.

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal at the 2013 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Houston

Some, like Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, grew up in a household where all rights and freedoms were

"We're all here today to talk about American values, and for me, that starts with one of the things my dad would teach my brother and me every day," Governor Jindal told the crowd. "My dad used to tell us, tell my brother and me, 'Sons, you should be grateful that you live in America.' That belief in liberty, and the security that freedom endures, is at the core of my political philosophy."

Called in for the close was the mama grizzly herself. Sporting an Under Armour "Women Hunt" t-shirt, Sarah Palin wowed the crowd with tales of hunting the Alaskan frontier and why she supports the Second Amendment.

"I want Trig to grow up in a country that is exceptional, and is still strong and good and decent and free."

For those who missed the Leadership Forum, you can catch up on all the speeches on NRANews.com.

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