NRA conventioneers spent $1.1 million on gun souvenirs

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Gun Control

Last weekend's national National Rifle Association convention in Houston didn't just break attendance records, mostly due to the gun control debate sweeping Washington and the nation. NRA supporters also spent record amounts on hats and T-shirts to brag about their membership in the Second Amendment group.

Officials from the organization told Secrets that the record 86,223 conventioneers spent about $1.1 million on souvenirs and paraphernalia from the NRA Store inside the convention. That's the equivalent of every attendee buying at least one $11 NRA beer glass or two membership pins.

"That's a lot," said one official, who added that the massive sales is a strong indication that the organization is growing despite some media reports that it can't keep growing.

Another said that the NRA Store sales were up 60 percent over last year's convention and that the vendors at the convention likely saw a similar jump in sales.

What's more, officials said that people lined up to become members of the organization credited with killing President Obama's sweeping gun control ban prompted by the December Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.

"We are expecting to see a surge given our attendance at the annual meeting was our largest ever. There were 86,228 attendees this year, beating our previous record of about 73,000 attendees set last year in St. Louis," said an NRA spokeswoman.