Just days after 19 children and two adults were killed in Uvalde by an AR-15 rifle, 70,000 people are expected to gather at the NRA convention over the next three days in Houston. Admission is free for all members and their families, including those under 18.
Among those scheduled to speak are Donald Trump, Kristi Noem, and Ted Cruz. Texas Governor Greg Abbott canceled his appearance but will provide a pre-recorded message as he plans to be in Uvalde.
Donald Trump says he plans to keep his “longtime commitment” to speak because the country needs “real solutions and real leadership in this moment.”
NRA members will not be allowed to carry guns during Friday’s forum that includes remarks from Trump and other high-profile Republicans.
Who isn’t going?
Senator John Cornyn had an “unexpected change” in his schedule, and Rep. Dan Crenshaw will be in Ukraine.
Five musicians have pulled out of the event, including Don McLean of “American Pie” fame.
“In light of the recent events in Texas, I have decided it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA at their convention in Houston this week. I’m sure all the folks planning to attend this event are shocked and sickened by these events as well. After all, we are all Americans,” said Don McLean in a statement to CNN. “I share the sorrow for this terrible, cruel loss with the rest of the nation.”
Texan singer Larry Gatlin also said he “cannot, in good conscience, perform at the NRA convention in Houston this weekend.”
“While I agree with most of the positions held by the NRA, I have come to believe that, while background checks would not stop every madman with a gun, it is at the very least a step in the right direction toward trying to prevent the kind of tragedy we saw this week in Uvalde — in my beloved, weeping TEXAS,” Gatlin said. “I’m a 2nd Amendment guy, but the 2nd Amendment should not apply to everyone. It’s that simple.”
God Bless Lee Greenwood, as he also backed out and said, “As a father, I join the rest of America in being absolutely heartbroken by the horrific event that transpired this week in Texas.”
“In light of the recent events in Texas, I have decided it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA at their convention in Houston this week,” he said in a statement. “I’m sure all the folks planning to attend this event are shocked and sickened by these events, as well. After all, we are all Americans.”
Country singers Larry Stewart and Danielle Peck also canceled.
Who will be there protesting?
Beto O’Rourke will be there.
Groups including the Harris County Democratic Party, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and March For Our Lives plan to rally outside the convention hall Friday, calling for gun reform.
Black Lives Matter Houston, Indivisible Houston and the Harris County Democratic Party, are preparing to protest the convention.
The city will be providing security for those attending the meeting according to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, as officials urged peace from protesters and attendees.
Protest barricades will also be set up, according to Houston Police Chief Troy Finner.
“We will respect everybody’s right to protest and speak their concerns and their voice,” Finner said during the briefing. “We will not tolerate destruction of property, nor will we tolerate people assaulting individuals.”