Dallas gave the NRA a $400,000 discount to host its convention. Now city leaders have regrets.
In 2012, the government of Dallas struck a deal with the National Rifle Association (NRA): If the organization would host its 2018 annual convention at the city-owned Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, it could rent the space for free. City Hall would offer a $22,840 discount, and the city's tourism bureau would cover the rest, about $387,000. In exchange, Dallas expected city businesses to rake in some $42 million from around 75,000 convention attendees.
But after a series of high-profile mass shootings, most recently the school shooting in Florida last week, Dallas leaders are less enthused about the arrangement. On Monday, Dwaine Caraway, a city council member who is also mayor pro tem, urged the NRA not to come to Dallas. Should the convention proceed, he predicted, there will be "marches and demonstrations" and "we, Dallas, will be the ones who have to bear the costs, the responsibility, and to protect the citizens."
The city council did not have an opportunity to vote on the NRA convention subsidy. In 2016, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings (D) said he is not personally thrilled about the NRA coming to town, but would prioritize "what makes good business sense."
The NRA responded to Caraway's remarks by noting that "no politician anywhere can tell the NRA not to come to their city" because NRA members already live in Dallas.