National Rifle Association flexes its muscles in Texas

In Houston, just 450 kilometers from the small town of Uvalde where on Tuesday the 18-year-old Salvador Ramos killed 19 fourth graders and their two teachers at a school, the National Rifle Association (NRA) of the United States is holding its annual convention on Friday. There, former President Donald Trump, who after the shooting said Wednesday that the United States “needs real solutions and real leadership right now, not politicians and partisan considerations,” is expected to attend.

The governor of Texas, Republican Greg Abbott, and great defender of gun ownership finally decided not to participate in the convention, although a video recorded in advance in which the conservative politician dedicates a few words to the attendees will be projected during the event. Like Trump, Senator Ted Cruz also maintains his presence at the event.

Country music artists Don McAlean, Larry Gatlin and Larry Stewart canceled their performances. McLean, author of the song “American Pie,” explained in a statement that “in light of recent events in Texas” he has decided it would be “disrespectful and hurtful” to himself to perform at the convention. Outside the building protesters have gathered with signs calling for a ban on semi-automatic rifles. They also carry photos of the victims of the last massacre and banners that read “Shame, it could be your children”.

The NRA’s annual convention is the largest gathering of the five-million-strong pro-gun lobby and comes after being canceled in previous years during the covid-19 pandemic. The NRA has helped fund the political campaigns of hundreds of members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, according to the Open Secrets database managed by the Center for Responsive Politics.

In a statement on its website, the NRA – which has been instrumental in preventing the passage of stricter regulations on firearms ownership – said the massacre in Uvalde was “the act of a lone, deranged criminal. “As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriots and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools safe,” the NRA stressed, in a statement.

But from the White House, the event has come under attack. Spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, pointed out that the NRA represents the interests of the gun industry, the gun manufacturers who market weapons of war to young adults. They do not represent gun owners who know we must take action,” she said.

Asked about possible unilateral presidential action to address the scourge of guns in the country, the White House spokeswoman said, “This president has done more through executive action than any other president during his first year in office. Now, what we are asking is for Congress: we are urging them to take action,” she said.

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