The National Rifle Association is beginning its annual convention in Houston today.
Leaders of the powerful gun-rights lobbying group are gearing up to “reflect on” and deflect any blame for this week's deadly shooting of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Former President Donald Trump and other leading Republicans are scheduled to address the three-day gun industry marketing and advocacy event, which begins Friday and is expected to draw protesters.
Some scheduled speakers and performers have backed out, including two Texas lawmakers and “American Pie” singer Don McLean, who says “it would be disrespectful” to go ahead with his act.
With the event going on as scheduled, officials are preparing for protests. According to the Houston Chronicle, at least two groups plan on holding protests this weekend at the NRA event.
"When you go and shoot up a school full of kids and teachers... you've taken someone's right to life away," Ashton Woods, leader of Black Lives Matter Houston, told the Chronicle.
Houston’s Democratic mayor, Sylvester Turner, said some people want the city to cancel the NRA meeting, but he said they can’t break the contract.
The greater question, he says, is why politicians still plan to speak there after the shooting in Uvalde. Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz are among other Republicans scheduled to address a leadership forum sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.