The Confluence coalition includes the local NAACP, the Thomas Merton Center, Pennsylvanians Against Handgun Violence and others.
"Most of the NRA members are wonderful people who support the responsible handling of guns," said Kenny Steinberg, president of PAHV, in announcing the weekend's Confluence events. "My message to the NRA membership: Wake your leadership up. Let's make sure children don't get access to guns. Let's make sure criminals don't get access to guns. It's pretty simple."
The teach-in April 15 in the University of Pittsburgh's William Pitt Union will focus on "The NRA and Militarism"; an April 16 vigil on 10th Street outside the NRA convention will remember victims of gun violence; and the April 17 rally and concert at 10th and Penn Avenue will feature Rusted Root's Liz Berlin, Soma Mestizo, Karl Mullen, and others yet to be announced.
The Confluence hopes to get NRA members behind several legislative initiatives to prevent gun violence, including a law to require adults to keep their firearms locked up and unloaded at home, out of the reach of children. The NRA's Hobbs believes its gun safety training is most effective in doing that job. The Confluence hopes the federal assault weapons ban is extended before it runs out this year. "There is not a single study" or stat anywhere "that shows that the so-called assault weapon ban has had any impact on crime in America," asserts Hobbs.
"We have no plans to disrupt the convention," assures Confluence Spokesperson Nathaniel Glosser, head of the Rosenberg Institute for Peace and Justice on the North Side.
The NRA has no plans to be disrupted, assures Hobbs: "Frankly I don't have time to focus on [protests] when we're expecting such a huge attendance for such an exciting convention."