SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The National Rifle Association is holding its annual convention this weekend in Houston, Texas — 300 miles from Tuesday’s mass shooting in Uvalde. There were several calls from organizations and politicians for the NRA to cancel, but they went ahead as planned.
Several high-profile conservatives are scheduled to speak over the next three days, including former President Donald Trump.
The NRA’s convention is expected to draw around 55,000 attendees from Friday to Sunday. Several speakers backed out, but that didn’t stop others from voicing their opinions about the shooting at Robb Elementary School and gun control.
Before entering the door of Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center, members were met with the chants and signs of protestors.
Sen. Scott Wiener describes the association’s choice to have the convention three days after the Uvalde school shooting as tone deaf.
“It’s not surprising because the NRA has shown over and over again that it could care less about these mass shootings that are literally killing our children,” Wiener said.
Friday’s speakers included NRA leaders, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Trump. The former president started by reading the names of the 19 students and two teachers who were shot and killed Tuesday.
Trump later listed off ways to prevent another mass shooting from changing the approach to mental health to increasing security in schools.
“There should be strong exterior fencing, metal detectors, and the use of new technology to make sure that no unauthorized individual can ever enter the school,” Trump said.
Some politicians and celebrities cancelled their appearances on stage, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbot. Instead, Abbott sent a pre-recorded video, saying stricter gun laws aren’t the answer.
“Thousands of laws on the books that limit the owning and using of firearms,” Abbot said. “Laws that have not stopped mad men from carrying out evil acts on innocent people.”
Wiener says the country should take California’s lead — a state with laws that restricts the access to assault weapons and requires strong background checks before purchase.
“We already have the strongest gun safety laws in the country,” Wiener said. “We also have — and it’s not a coincidence — one of the lowest rates of gun violence in the country.”
The NRA’s annual meeting is only open to members. Despite their common interests, attendees are prohibited from bringing firearms or any firearm accessories into the convention.