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NRA speakers unshaken on gun rights after school massacre in Texas



One by way of one, they took the degree on the National Rifle Association’s annual conference in Houston and denounced the bloodbath of nineteen scholars and two academics at an basic faculty around the state. And one after the other, they insisted that additional limiting get admission to to firearms used to be now not the solution to combating long term tragedies.“The existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law-abiding citizens,” stated former President Donald Trump, who used to be a number of the Republicans who covered as much as discuss sooner than the gun rights lobbying crew Friday as hundreds of protesters indignant about gun violence demonstrated out of doors.“The existence of evil is one of the very best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens,” he said.The gathering came just three days after the shooting in Uvalde and as the nation grappled with revelations that students trapped inside a classroom with the gunman repeatedly called 911 during the attack — one pleading “Please send the police now” — as officers waited in the hallway for more than 45 minutes.The NRA had said that convention attendees would “reflect on” the capturing on the match and “pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure.”The assembly used to be the primary for the bothered group since 2019, following a two-year hiatus as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The group has been seeking to regroup following a duration of great criminal and fiscal turmoil that incorporated a failed chapter effort, a class-action lawsuit and a fraud investigation by way of New York’s lawyer normal. Once a number of the maximum tough political organizations within the nation, the NRA has noticed its affect wane following an important drop in political spending.Wayne LaPierre, the crowd’s embattled leader government, opened this system with remarks bemoaning the “21 beautiful lives ruthlessly and indiscriminately extinguished by a criminal monster.”Still, he said that “restricting the fundamental human rights of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves is not the answer. It never has been.”Later, several hundred people in the auditorium stood and bowed their heads in a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting. Several thousand people were inside the auditorium during the speeches, which appeared fewer than the number gathered outside. Many seats were empty.Trump accused Democrats of trying to exploit the tragedy and demonizing gun owners.“When Joe Biden blamed the gun lobby he was talking about Americans like you,” Trump said, referring to the president’s emotional plea in a national address asking, “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?”Trump called for overhauling school security and the nation’s approach to mental health, telling the group every school building should have a single point of entry, strong exterior fencing, metal detectors and hardened classroom doors and every school should have a police officer or armed guard on duty at all times. He also called yet again for trained teachers to be able to carry concealed weapons in the classroom.He and other speakers overlooked the security upgrades that were already in place at the elementary school and did not stop the gunman, who entered the building through a back door that had been propped open.According to a district safety plan, Uvalde schools have a wide range of safety measures in place. The district had four police officers and four support counselors, according to the plan, which appears to be dated from the 2019-20 school year. It also had software to monitor social media for threats and software to screen school visitors.Security experts say the Uvalde case illustrates how fortifying schools can backfire. A lock on the classroom door, for instance — one of the most basic and widely recommended school safety measures — kept victims in and police out.Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who, like Trump, is considered a potential presidential candidate in 2024, railed against Democrats’ calls for universal background checks for gun purchases and bans of assault-style weapons and instead pointed to broken families, declining church attendance, social media bullying and video games as the real problems.“Tragedies like the event of this week are a mirror forcing us to ask hard questions, demanding that we see where our culture is failing,” he stated. “We will have to now not react to evil and tragedy by way of forsaking the Constitution or infringing at the rights of our law-abiding electorate.”South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, another potential presidential contender, said calls to further restrict gun access are “all about control and it is garbage. I’m not buying it for a second and you shouldn’t, either.”Some scheduled speakers and performers backed out of the event, including several Texas lawmakers and “American Pie” singer Don McLean, who said “it would be disrespectful” to go ahead with his act after the country’s latest mass shooting. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Friday morning that he had decided not to speak at an event breakfast after “prayerful consideration and discussion with NRA officials.”“While a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and an NRA member, I would not want my appearance today to bring any additional pain or grief to the families and all those suffering in Uvalde,” he wrote in a statement.Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who was to attend, addressed the convention by prerecorded video instead.Outside the convention hall, protesters gathered in a park where police set up metal barriers — some holding crosses with photos of the Uvalde shooting victims.“Murderers!” some yelled in Spanish. “Shame on you!” others shouted at attendees.Among the protesters was singer Little Joe, of the popular Tejano band Little Joe y La Familia, who said in the more than 60 years he’s spent touring the world, no other country he’s been to has faced as many mass shootings as the U.S.“Of course, this is the best country in the world,” he said. “But what good does it do us if we can’t protect lives, especially of our children?”Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Abbott in the governor’s race, ticked off a list of previous school shootings and called on those attending the convention to “join us to make sure that this no longer happens in this country.”While Biden and Democrats in Congress have renewed calls for stricter gun laws after the Uvalde shooting, NRA board members and others attending the conference dismissed talk of banning or limiting access to firearms.Samuel Thornburg, 43, a maintenance worker for Southwest Airlines in Houston who was attending the NRA meeting, said: “Guns are not evil. It’s the people that are committing the crime that are evil. Our schools need to be more locked. There need to be more guards.”There is precedent for the NRA to assemble all through native mourning and controversy. The group went forward with a shortened model of its 1999 assembly in Denver more or less every week after the fatal capturing at Columbine High School in Colorado.Texas has skilled a chain of mass shootings lately. During that point, the Republican-led Legislature and governor have comfy gun rules.Most U.S. adults suppose that mass shootings would happen much less continuously if weapons have been tougher to get and consider colleges and different public puts have change into much less secure than they have been 20 years in the past, polling unearths.Many explicit measures that may curb get admission to to weapons or ammunition additionally get majority reinforce. A May AP-NORC ballot discovered, for example, that 51% of U.S. adults desire a national ban at the sale of AR-15 rifles and an identical semiautomatic guns. But the numbers are extremely partisan, with 75% p.c of Democrats agreeing as opposed to simply 27% of Republicans.Though non-public firearms are allowed on the conference, weapons weren’t authorized all through the consultation that includes Trump as a result of Secret Service safety protocols.

One by way of one, they took the degree on the National Rifle Association’s annual conference in Houston and denounced the bloodbath of nineteen scholars and two academics at an basic faculty around the state. And one after the other, they insisted that additional limiting get admission to to firearms used to be now not the solution to combating long term tragedies.

“The existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law-abiding citizens,” stated former President Donald Trump, who used to be a number of the Republicans who covered as much as discuss sooner than the gun rights lobbying crew Friday as hundreds of protesters indignant about gun violence demonstrated out of doors.

“The existence of evil is one of the very best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens,” he said.

The gathering came just three days after the shooting in Uvalde and as the nation grappled with revelations that students trapped inside a classroom with the gunman repeatedly called 911 during the attack — one pleading “Please send the police now” — as officers waited in the hallway for more than 45 minutes.

The NRA had said that convention attendees would “reflect on” the capturing on the match and “pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure.”

The assembly used to be the primary for the bothered group since 2019, following a two-year hiatus as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The group has been seeking to regroup following a duration of great criminal and fiscal turmoil that incorporated a failed chapter effort, a class-action lawsuit and a fraud investigation by way of New York’s lawyer normal. Once a number of the maximum tough political organizations within the nation, the NRA has noticed its affect wane following an important drop in political spending.

Wayne LaPierre, the crowd’s embattled leader government, opened this system with remarks bemoaning the “21 beautiful lives ruthlessly and indiscriminately extinguished by a criminal monster.”

Still, he said that “restricting the fundamental human rights of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves is not the answer. It never has been.”

Later, several hundred people in the auditorium stood and bowed their heads in a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting. Several thousand people were inside the auditorium during the speeches, which appeared fewer than the number gathered outside. Many seats were empty.

Trump accused Democrats of trying to exploit the tragedy and demonizing gun owners.

“When Joe Biden blamed the gun lobby he was talking about Americans like you,” Trump said, referring to the president’s emotional plea in a national address asking, “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?”

Trump called for overhauling school security and the nation’s approach to mental health, telling the group every school building should have a single point of entry, strong exterior fencing, metal detectors and hardened classroom doors and every school should have a police officer or armed guard on duty at all times. He also called yet again for trained teachers to be able to carry concealed weapons in the classroom.

He and other speakers overlooked the security upgrades that were already in position on the basic faculty and didn’t prevent the gunman, who entered the development thru a again door that were propped open.

According to a district protection plan, Uvalde colleges have a variety of protection measures in position. The district had 4 law enforcement officials and 4 reinforce counselors, in keeping with the plan, which seems to be dated from the 2019-20 faculty yr. It additionally had tool to observe social media for threats and tool to display screen faculty guests.

Security mavens say the Uvalde case illustrates how fortifying colleges can backfire. A lock on the school room door, for example — one of the vital elementary and extensively beneficial faculty protection measures — saved sufferers in and police out.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who, like Trump, is regarded as a possible presidential candidate in 2024, railed towards Democrats’ requires common background tests for gun purchases and bans of assault-style guns and as a substitute pointed to damaged households, declining church attendance, social media bullying and video video games as the true issues.

“Tragedies like the event of this week are a mirror forcing us to ask hard questions, demanding that we see where our culture is failing,” he said. “We must not react to evil and tragedy by abandoning the Constitution or infringing on the rights of our law-abiding citizens.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, another potential presidential contender, said calls to further restrict gun access are “all about control and it is garbage. I’m not buying it for a second and you shouldn’t, either.”

Some scheduled audio system and performers sponsored out of the development, together with a number of Texas lawmakers and “American Pie” singer Don McLean, who stated “it would be disrespectful” to move forward together with his act after the rustic’s newest mass capturing. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick stated Friday morning that he had made up our minds to not discuss at an match breakfast after “prayerful consideration and discussion with NRA officials.”

“While a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and an NRA member, I would not want my appearance today to bring any additional pain or grief to the families and all those suffering in Uvalde,” he wrote in a observation.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who used to be to wait, addressed the conference by way of prerecorded video as a substitute.

Outside the conference corridor, protesters accumulated in a park the place police arrange steel limitations — some protecting crosses with pictures of the Uvalde capturing sufferers.

“Murderers!” some yelled in Spanish. “Shame on you!” others shouted at attendees.

Among the protesters used to be singer Little Joe, of the preferred Tejano band Little Joe y La Familia, who stated within the greater than 60 years he’s spent traveling the arena, no different nation he’s been to has confronted as many mass shootings because the U.S.

“Of course, this is the best country in the world,” he stated. “But what good does it do us if we can’t protect lives, especially of our children?”

Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who’s difficult Abbott within the governor’s race, ticked off a listing of earlier faculty shootings and known as on the ones attending the conference to “join us to make sure that this no longer happens in this country.”

While Biden and Democrats in Congress have renewed calls for stricter gun rules after the Uvalde capturing, NRA board contributors and others attending the convention pushed aside communicate of banning or restricting get admission to to firearms.

Samuel Thornburg, 43, a upkeep employee for Southwest Airlines in Houston who used to be attending the NRA assembly, stated: “Guns don’t seem to be evil. It’s the folk which are committing the crime which are evil. Our colleges want to be extra locked. There want to be extra guards.”

There is precedent for the NRA to gather during local mourning and controversy. The organization went ahead with a shortened version of its 1999 meeting in Denver roughly a week after the deadly shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

Texas has experienced a series of mass shootings in recent years. During that time, the Republican-led Legislature and governor have relaxed gun laws.

Most U.S. adults suppose that mass shootings would happen much less continuously if weapons have been tougher to get and consider colleges and different public puts have change into much less secure than they have been 20 years in the past, polling unearths.

Many explicit measures that may curb get admission to to weapons or ammunition additionally get majority reinforce. A May AP-NORC ballot discovered, for example, that 51% of U.S. adults desire a national ban at the sale of AR-15 rifles and an identical semiautomatic guns. But the numbers are extremely partisan, with 75% p.c of Democrats agreeing as opposed to simply 27% of Republicans.

Though non-public firearms are allowed on the conference, weapons weren’t authorized all through the consultation that includes Trump as a result of Secret Service safety protocols.



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