The gun rights’ lobbying group the National Rifle Association issued a statement Wednesday saying they are “committed to making our schools safe” after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two adults dead.
The NRA called the 18-year-old shooter a “lone, deranged criminal.” The tweeted statement did not address that the shooter was able to buy the AR-15 used in the shooting legally. In Texas, 18 year olds can buy rifles or long guns but not handguns.
The NRA is still planning on going forward with their convention in Houston, Texas, this weekend. Houston is located about 275 miles from Uvalde.
“As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure,” the statement said.
US President Donald Trump gestures to guests at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at the 148th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 26, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The convention, which runs through Sunday, features more than 800 exhibitors and is expected to draw 80,000 guests.
Scott Olson / Getty Images
Former President Trump said Wednesday that he still plans on attending the convention. “America needs real solutions and real leadership in this moment, not politicians and partisanship,” Trump posted on Truth social. “That’s why I will keep my longtime commitment to speak in Texas at the NRA Convention and deliver an important address to America. In the meantime, we all continue to pray for the victims, their families, and for our entire nation—we are all in this together!”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told the city council on Wednesday that “we simply cannot cancel” the conference due to the contract.
“The convention has been on the books for more than two years,” Turner said, according to CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV. “It’s a contractual arrangement. We simply cannot cancel a conference or convention because we do not agree with the subject matter.”
Other Texas officials are expected to attend, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz. Their offices had not yet returned requests for comment.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas pulled out of the conference, with his staff saying on Tuesday that he had already canceled due to a scheduling conflict.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke on Wednesday emotionally interrupted Abbott during a press conference in Uvalde, calling for stricter gun laws.
“The time stop the next shooting is now and you are doing nothing,” O’Rourke said. Abbott later admonished O’Rourke for advancing his “personal agendas.” Although Abbott said the suspect had no known history of mental illness, the governor said Wednesday that local officials told him there is a “problem with mental health, illness” in the Uvalde community.