Protestors Targeting NRA Convention

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(KTVI)-- The National Rifle Association Convention could bring a record crowd to St. Louis. With more than 60,000 people expected to attend, Italian restaurant owner Joe Sanfilippo couldn't be happier.

"It's going to be phenomenal. My business will double, if not triple," Sanfilippo smiled.

The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission estimate the NRA Convention will boost the local economy by more than $36 million.

However, state representative Jamilah Nasheed says she's more concerned about the social impact. She's planning to attend a protest rally against the NRA Saturday afternoon at one o'clock on the arch grounds.

"We're having it because of the reckless policies the NRA pushes throughout this country. When you have mothers crying and youth dying in the streets because of their reckless policies we feel there's a need to speak out," said Nasheed.

The National Rifle Association encounters protests in just about every city it hosts its convention. When asked about the planned event in St. Louis, a representative of the organization Adam Arulanandam said, "That's just the majesty of freedom and first amendment and democracy. People have the right to voice their opinion."

Acres and acres of guns will be on display ready to sell at the convention, which is being held at America’s Center in downtown St. Louis. Political heavyweights like republican GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrinch and front runner, Mitt Romney are scheduled to attend.  U.S. Senator Roy Blunt plans to be there, too. Blunt is delivering a speech about the constitutional protections of the second amendment at the convention on Friday. He says he hopes protests won't prevent the NRA from returning to St. Louis.

"I’m sure anywhere the NRA has a convention there's some sort of protest. I would hope that the protests here are not the kind of protest that would mean they would not come back in five or six years."

The NRA Convention kicks off Thursday afternoon. Politicians, country singers, and a possible record setting crowd will be on hand. The convention wraps up Sunday evening.

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