BELLEVUE, WA – This year’s 33rd annual Gun Rights Policy Conference attendance hit a record high of more than 800, and for the first time, the entire event was live-streamed via Facebook and more than 115,000 people visited the site, according to the Second Amendment Foundation.

“The impact of this year’s GRPC was far greater than it had been for the past 32 years,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb.

He said the turnout was impressive, especially for an event held in Chicago. But Gottlieb said rights activists from across the country converged on the event because it was essentially being held “in the belly of the beast.” The Windy City is not gun-friendly.

Visitors were able to hear rousing comments from Florida high school student Kyle Kashuv, a survivor of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He has provided a remarkable alternative view of the event, sticking up for the Second Amendment and the rights of gun owners. For his efforts, he was recognized with the Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award. He received a standing ovation for his courage and commitment to the Second Amendment.

Former MLB all-star pitcher Curt Schilling was pitching gun rights during his presentation, and received the very first “Gun Rights Hall of Fame” award at the conference. He delivered a no-hitter against gun control.

SAF co-hosted the event with the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Representatives from the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership were also present and had speaking roles on different panels.

Next year’s event will be held in Phoenix, Arizona. Planning is already underway.