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Trump, Cruz and Abbott will speak at NRA convention two days after Texas school shooting

High-profile Republicans including Trump, Cruz and Abbott to speak at an NRA convention in Houston just days after mass shooting at Texas elementary school.

High-profile Republicans to speak at NRA rally in wake of Texas mass shooting

Just three days after at least 19 children and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas several high-profile Republicans are slated to speak at a National Rifle Association (NRA) conference. Included on the roster to make appearances are former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and North Carolina Lt Gov. Mark Robinson.

The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) Leadership Forum will take place on Friday in Houston, less than 300 miles from this most recent tragedy. The mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas is the deadliest elementary school shooting since the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, which killed 27 in 2012.

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NRA has not announced plans to cancel event

This is not the first time that the NRA has had a event scheduled just days after a mass shooting that happened nearby. In 1999, the NRA considered cancelling its annual convention in Denver, a few miles and scheduled to take place just days after the Columbine shooting, according to recordings of a closed-door meeting obtained by NPR. That tragedy left 13 people dead and over 20 injured, but the guns rights organization decided to go ahead anyway.

Those who oppose strengthening gun laws are often heard saying it is too soon to talk about common sense reforms that could prevent gun violence after one of these mass shootings, which are occurring with depressing frequency, there is apparently no need to wait out of respect to hold “a celebration of Second Amendment rights.” So far there has been no announcement from the NRA to cancel its forum on 27 May with a “star-studded cast of political heavyweights.”

With the exception of two of the headliners listed, Sen. John Cornyn and US Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, none of the other GOP politicians has said that they will cancel their appearance at the event. Both Rep Crenshaw and Sen. Cornyn had already planned on not attending. “Prior to the tragedy in Uvalde we had already informed the NRA he would not be able to speak due to an unexpected change in his schedule,” a spokesman for Cornyn told The Hill.

GOP headliners confirm they will speak at NRA forum

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke has called on Gov. Abbott to cancel his scheduled appearance scheduled for Friday. O’Rourke interrupted a press conference on the shooting in Uvalde to chastise him saying “You’re doing nothing, you’re authorized to do something.” Texas Gov. Abbott when asked if he still planned to attend the NRA event said that “as far as future plans are concerned, listen, I’m living moment to moment right now.”

Former president Trump let it be known on social media Wednesday there had been no change in his “longtime commitment to speak in Texas at the NRA Convention.” His message said that “we all continue to pray for the victims, their families.”

Noem’s office confirmed to The Hill that the governor was still planning to speak at the forum. But let it be known that she had ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in South Dakota.

Second Amendment right ends at the door to the NRA conference

One of the places where you won’t be able to carry a gun in Texas on Friday will be the NRA event. The Secret Service will be handling security in the general assembly hall during Trump’s speech according to the NRA. Agents will be checking attendees and their belongings before they enter with magnetometers. They have prohibited firearms, firearm accessories and knives, among other items.

This isn’t the first time an NRA event has been gun-free. In 2018 firearms were banned from part of the annual convention when then-Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech.