Florida Governor Ron DeSantis waves to the crowd after speaking about his new book 'The Courage to Be Free' in the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on March 5, 2023 in Simi Valley, California

Republican leaders, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former President Donald Trump, and former Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to speak at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention today. DeSantis will make his first appearance at the event via a video appearance, according to the NRA. Pence and Trump will both attend the event in person and may be in the same room together for the first time since leaving office

“The 2023 NRA Leadership Forum represents a significant gathering of national leaders. This event underscores the importance of defending our constitutional rights and highlights the vital role of the NRA and its members in protecting freedom and liberty. Our high-caliber speaker lineup emphasizes the significance of preserving our freedoms,” stated NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre.

The event is expected to be a significant gathering of influential conservative voices, including former Vice President Mike Pence, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Indiana Senator Mike Braun, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and others. The event also features former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who has already announced her 2024 run for president, and will address the NRA via video.

The NRA Leadership Forum is a major gathering of Second Amendment supporters, where conservative leaders speak about their views on gun rights and other issues important to the organization’s members. Donald Trump has previously spoken at the event during his presidency and after, including last year’s forum in Houston.

During his speech last year, Trump rejected calls for gun control following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and emphasized the importance of the Second Amendment. He also highlighted the critical role played by NRA members in maintaining public safety in times of crisis, stating that “there is no one you would rather have … than an armed, expertly trained, member of the NRA.”

DeSantis’ appearance at the NRA event comes just days after he signed a permitless carry bill into law in Florida, making it the latest constitutional carry state in the US. This move has fueled speculation that the governor may be considering a presidential run in 2024, with many Republican voters and conservative activists rallying behind him as a potential candidate.

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