(NBC News) A thousand miles couldn't keep them away.
Bob Kittredge, 73, and his wife drove from Port St. Lucie, Fla., this week to attend the National Rifle Association's annual convention. They are just two of the more than 70,000 people expected at the event, which opens Friday and runs through Sunday.
"We meet a lot of people who think the same way we do," Kittredge said.
It will be a nine-acre gun show in the middle of a national gun fight.
About 550 exhibitors have packed the sprawling George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.
In the midst of a national fight over gun control laws, the National Rifle Association will hold its annual meeting in Houston this weekend, with Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and more scheduled to speak.
"NRA members vote and their friends vote," said Drew Kelley, who said he's been an NRA member for most of his life. "That is what's driving all this."
-- Jay Gray, NBC News, reports