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NRA convention in Houston, Texas: Protests and cancellations but no change from the gun lobby

The National Rifle Association held its flagship annual conference just days after the horrifying massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

Update:
Protests and cancellations at the NRA convention in Houston
DANIEL KRAMERREUTERS

Last Friday the National Rifle Association (NRA) opened its annual meeting in Houston, Texas, bringing together a number of prominent names from the highly-influential gun rights lobby.

The NRA itself pledged to “reflect on” the tragic events in Robb Elementary School earlier last week, although maintains that the pro-gun lobby should bear no blame for the mass killing of 19 children and two teachers.

Who was at the Houston NRA convention?

Among those in attendance for the event was former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, NRA head Wayne LaPierre and NRA executive director Jason Ouimet. Trump was perhaps the biggest draw of those on stage over the weekend, telling the audience: “The existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law abiding citizens,”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem told attendees not to resist efforts to impose more gun control laws or restrictions on who could buy guns.

“Now would be the worst time to quit,” she said. “Now is when we double down.”

However a number of key names did cancel their scheduled appearances at the NRA rally with Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbot deciding against making any in-person remarks. Likewise Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced that he would not be attending the pro-gun event, saying: “I would not want my appearance today to bring any additional pain or grief to the families and all those suffering in Uvalde.”

Musicians Don McLean, Lee Greenwood, Larry Gatlin and Larry Stewart were set to sing in a concert but all pulled out, citing the deadly shooting in Uvalde as the reason.

Protestors crowd outside the NRA convention

The horrifying events in Uvalde occurred 280 miles west of Houston and the NRA’s convention began as bereaved families and a weary nation was still coming to terms with the loss of 21 lives. The attendance for the rally is thought to have been considerably less than expected and there was a significant protestor presence outside.

Crowds carrying signs and crosses with the names of victims in the Uvalde shooting protested outside the convention. Around 500 people chanted “NRA go away,” and “Shame, it could be your kids today.”

This is not the time or the place to have this convention,” said Cesar Espinosa, executive director of FIEL, a civil rights group based in Houston. “We must not just have thoughts and prayers from legislators, but rather we need action to address this public health crisis that is affecting our communities.”

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