Palin to deliver address at gun convention

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) will deliver a keynote address to a gun convention later this month. 

Palin will speak Saturday, Jan. 29, to the Safari International Club (SCI) in Reno, Nev.,  according to the group's website. The organization bills itself as "the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and promoting wildlife conservation worldwide."

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The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee's speech is expected to touch on "her past hunting experiences and how politics affects the current state of hunting and fishing."

The address comes amid a debate in Congress over gun rights that followed the shootings of 20 people at a meet-and-greet event for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). Palin's speech will likely be watched to see if she references the Arizona shooting, which left six dead and 14 wounded, including Giffords.

Palin was drawn into the debate after liberals criticized materials on her political action committee's website, which, in calling for the defeat of Giffords and other Democrats, put their districts in the crosshairs of a rifle. Palin defended herself with a lengthy message on Facebook this week that ended up causing more controversy. Her message came out the day of a memorial service for the victims of the shooting, and her use of the term "blood libel" also created a firestorm.

She also received renewed criticism of her campaign refrain "Don't retreat, reload," even though she has previously said it was not a call for violence.

Palin's speech to the gun convention will come as members of Congress in both political parties are pushing gun-control legislation in response to the shooting. The proposed legislation includes a ban on carrying guns within 1,000 feet of a lawmaker and a crackdown on high-capacity magazines, such as the one used by Jared Lee Loughner, the accused gunman. 

Palin has been a vocal supporter of gun rights. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has not been receptive to the recent gun-control efforts, and the White House has not thrown its weight behind a proposal.

Others expected to appear at the convention are comedian Larry the Cable Guy, musical acts Marshall Tucker Band and Pure Prairie League, an Elvis impersonator, NASCAR team owner Richard Childress and conservative commentator Michael Reagan.

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