NRA Personal Protection Expo, August 25-27, 2017, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Not sure how I missed this announcement from mid-December, but news that the National Rifle Association is going to be producing a “Personal Protection Expo” on August 25-27, 2017 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee finally reached me somehow.


The event makes perfect sense for the NRA as self-defense is the core of the current iteration of American gun culture. There is alot at the annual meeting of the NRA that is of little interest to this segment of gun culture. This more focused event would seem to provide a good marketing opportunity to gun/accessory manufacturers and retailers, as well as trainers and those selling other services like insurance/legal products.

I will be particularly interested to see whether the religion and politics that figure so prominently at the NRA annual meeting will get benched in favor of more practical considerations at the PPX.

I am also definitely interested in this event because I learned so much attending the United States Concealed Carry Association’s second annual Concealed Carry Expo in April 2016. I learned alot about smaller companies that are part of “the gun industry,” I got to handle and even shoot new firearms, I saw seminars on the Law of Self-Defense and women’s concerns, and I had front row seats to a well-produced concealed carry fashion show.

The USCCA is holding its third annual Concealed Carry Expo in Fort Worth, April 7-9, 2017 and I will definitely attend if my schedule permits.


I have no doubt that the NRA observed the success of the USCCA Concealed Carry Expo and so it seems a bit disingenuous for the NRA to characterize its Personal Protection Expo as an “innovative event.” On the other hand, I don’t doubt that the NRA will take the idea of an personal protection/concealed carry expo to another level. I hope my schedule will permit me to attend.

Finally, I cannot help but wonder whether the NRA holding their Personal Protection Expo in Milwaukee — the USCCA’s back yard — is a sort of warning shot across the bow of a competing organization.


  1. In-ter-es-ting. It’s like they’ve been reading my blog, or something! 😀
    I’m curious to see which branch of the NRA is behind this. There are BIG cultural and messaging differences between the Training, Publication and Legislative portions of the NRA.


    • Hey, wait, don’t you mean they’ve been reading MY blog? LOL. Heaven forbid the legislative wing of the NRA is involved. Like I said, I hope they bracket the religion and politics and keep it practical. We’ll see!


  2. Huh, never heard of it, and I’m an NRA Life-Benefactor member. Guess I’ll have to add it to the calendar. Thanks for the heads up.



    • I would think you could play a big role in the Expo, though your association with the USCCA may preclude you if there is an element of turf battle going on here as I suspect.


  3. I have a CHL, so I am not exactly against the concept. But I wonder if the whole “concealed carry nation” philosophy of self-armament in the public sphere is a good topic for one of your classes, David. Something along the lines of “concealed carry: facts vs. mythology. Individual safety in the public sphere and how is it best optimized”. Maybe we can get to the bottom of the David Hemenway et al. vs. John Lott discussion of whether carrying is in the public’s best interest.


    • Concealed carry isn’t for everybody. But as a general policy for those who are suited (undoubtedly the large majority of American citizens–after all, we let them vote for who is in charge of the entire country, don’t we?) more guns in lawful hands equals less crime. I know of no compelling evidence to the contrary. If you do, please share. Thanks. Sure, I’ll wait. 🙂



      • Individual cases need to be considered as far as whether concealed carry makes a person measurably safer. Overall, i.e., population wise, correlation is not causation. There are a lot of hypotheses for the decline in crime since the eighties and nineties. Less lead in the environment with the phaseout of leaded paint and tetraethyl lead, changes in drug usage, etc.

        There are more guns in private hands but not necessarily more households with guns based on a recent Harvard study. So while there is no evidence that more guns mean more crime, I don’t think there is any good evidence that regardless of correlation, more guns, concealed or otherwise, mean less crime. Crime happens when there is reason for criminal activity. A major change in drug policy (end the war on drugs) could potentially reduce crime.

        Anyway, since the class David teaches revolves around the sociology of gun culture, I think throwing the whole question out to the class might be interesting.


      • As far as correlation, Dr. Dan Nolan and I recently took apart the CAP study that claimed that more gun control made us safer**. There was, in fact, no correlation between gun homicide and gun laws or gun homicide and ownership of guns. CAP lied. The only strong correlation was between gun ownership v suicide rate on a state by state basis and even that does not prove causation. Hawaii and Alaska have similar gun ownership rates and strongly different suicide rates. The difference in suicide rate may have more to do with Alaska having SAD and Hawaii having nice weather year round.



      • Thanks, guys. In my view, both formulations “More Guns, Less Crime” and “More Guns, More Crime” are too encompassing. I have not seen compelling evidence in the aggregate either way, probably because both crime and self-defense are highly localized phenomena (search Papachristos on this site and see Rob Morse’s Self-Defense Gun stories podcast).

        More guns in the hands of good people is not a problem; more guns in the hands of bad people certainly is. So, a key question — though not one of my personal research questions — is how to facilitate the former and reduce the latter? Relatedly, how do we block the flow of legal guns into the illegal market?

        I also try to think about street violence, domestic violence, mass murder, and suicide as having different dynamics and requiring different approaches to address.

        I guess I am generally skeptical of simple diagnoses of problems and simple solutions. If only life were so easy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi David. Hope you are having a happy new year! I’ve been following Andrew Papachristos’ publications to some degree, when I have a break from my own avalanche of work. His work, and how it applies to urban violence, is a breath of fresh air in a very stale discussion.

        As far as simple solutions, as a friend of mine from graduate school used to say, “if it was easy, someone would have solved it by now”.


  4. […] In my paper, I examine various guns and gun-related accessories as objects of material culture, technologies developed by companies small and large into products like guns, holsters, clothing, and bags which are sold to the public as commodities in venues like the United States Concealed Carry Association’s Concealed Carry Expo and the recently announced National Rifle Association Personal Protection Expo. […]


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