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Columbus, Ohio, loses NRA convention

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 18 (UPI) -- The National Rifle Association has decided against having its 2007 annual convention in Columbus, Ohio, which has banned certain assault weapons.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said his group will move its convention, which had been planned since May, the Columbus Dispatch reported Monday.

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The new venue for the convention was not announced. The Columbus convention would have attracted about 60,000 visitors to the city and at least $15 million, the report said quoting convention officials.

City Council President Matt Habash and Councilman Michael C. Mentel, who had introduced the weapons ban legislation, said, "Public policy decisions -- especially those affecting the safety of our citizens -- cannot be influenced by any narrow interest group that happens to visit."

The City Council last week approved a ban on certain semi-automatic rifles, pistols and shotguns.

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