The National Rifle  Association begins its annual  meeting today in St. Louis and is expected to attract over 60,000 attendees throughout the weekend, bolstering the local economy and standing strong for the right to keep and bear arms.

Today attendees will have the opportunity to hear from a host of politicians at the Celebration of American Values Leadership Forum.  Among those speaking today will be Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in what will be their first public appearance together since Santorum announced that he was suspending his presidential campaign.  While I expect the focus will be on guns and gun ownership it should be very interesting to see how they treat each other now that the path has essentially been cleared for Romney to become the Republican nominee for president.

Other speakers will include former presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin who is facing a recall election in June and Rep. Darrell Issa of California who has been investigating the Attorney General Eric Holder’s handling of the Fast and Furious program.

And maybe even best of all, the exhibit hall opens this morning.  The NRA has billboards running in St. Louis describing it as acres and acres of guns and gear and it is certain;y the largest display of such material that I have ever seen.

The left will be protesting at at the Arch grounds on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. which is several blocks away from the convention center.