The Lead

Former President Trump to address NRA event in Harrisburg next month

By: - January 22, 2024 6:56 pm

Former President Donald Trump, campaigning in September in Clinton Township, Michigan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump will be the keynote speaker at the National Rifle Association’s Presidential Forum in Harrisburg next month, the organization said in a news release Monday.

The visit is Trump’s first scheduled trip to Pennsylvania of the 2024 election cycle, a state that is crucial for presidential contenders because of its 19 electoral college votes. Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016, but lost to Biden in 2020.

Trump won the Iowa caucuses last week, and is the current front-runner for the GOP nomination for president.

President Joe Biden has already made three visits to Pennsylvania this year, giving a speech to kick off his campaign near Valley Forge, a visit to small businesses in the Lehigh Valley, and a trip to volunteer at a food bank in Philadelphia on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

“President Trump’s unwavering support for the Second Amendment, and his track record of protecting the rights of gun owners make him an exemplary speaker for this momentous event,” NRA President Charles Cotton said in the release. It’s Trump’s eighth time addressing the NRA, according to the release.

The forum is part of the NRA’s annual Great American Outdoor Show, held in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex. Last year, more than 200,000 people attended, according to the NRA.

The organization says Trump “never let NRA members down,” citing the three Supreme Court justices he appointed, who played a role in the court’s 2022 ruling that struck down a New York law requiring people to show a need to carry a gun in public.

“President Trump’s presence at the Great American Outdoor Show is a testament to his ongoing commitment to our constitutional freedoms,” said Randy Kozuch, executive director of  the NRA Institute for Legislative action, the organization’s lobbying arm. “His leadership has been crucial in safeguarding the rights of hunters, sportsmen, and all Americans who cherish our outdoor heritage.”

Trump will appear at the NRA event on Feb. 9.

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Kim Lyons
Kim Lyons

Kim Lyons is a veteran western Pennsylvania journalist who has covered people and trends in politics and business for local and national publications. Follow her on Threads @social_kimly