NRA convention draws protesters as gun reform debate heats up
▶ Watch Video: Days after deadly school shooting, NRA holds convention in Texas
Three days after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas left 19 children and two adults dead, the National Rifle Association kicked off its annual convention about 280 miles away in Houston.
Facing shrinking membership and revenue and on the heels of a nationwide gun reform debate, keynote speakers such as former President Donald Trump attended the convention that is scheduled to continue through Sunday, according to the NRA’s website.
During the convention, Trump criticized Republicans who decided not to attend after the shooting in Uvalde, saying, “unlike some, I didn’t disappoint you by not showing up.”
He also called the latest push for gun reform a politically-motivated one.
“They want total gun confiscation,” he claimed. “This would be the first step. Once they get the first step, a second, third and fourth. You’ll have a whole different look at the second amendment.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz echoed Trump’s sentiments, saying, “We know that keeping guns away from citizens who follow the law does very little to keep them away from criminals.”
Meanwhile, outside the convention hall, the state’s Democratic leaders, in addition to protesters that included children, expressed outrage about the NRA convention’s attendees.
“They prioritize power and profits over lives. I don’t know if you’ll ever find common ground with someone who operates like that,” Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke told CBS News. O’Rourke earlier in the week confronted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott regarding his response to the Uvalde shooting during a press conference.
Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee told CBS News that months ahead of the midterm elections, she thinks Washington will not remain divided on gun laws.
“I hope not. I hope my sense of anxiety and my sense of anger does not counter our responsibility of working on compromise and getting it done.”