Texas NRA convention: Lawmakers and residents protest in Houston after deadly school shooting in Uvalde

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Thousands of Houstonians and prominent city and state leaders took a stand during peaceful protests Friday afternoon to cancel the National Rifle Association convention. They argue that a conversation about gun laws at an annual convention is insensitive to the recent tragedy in Uvalde that involved an elementary school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers.

The NRA convention has been booked for two years and up to 80,000 people are expected. Mayor Sylvester Turner said that while he would like organizers to consider postponing the event, especially in the wake of the massacre, the city can do nothing to enforce a cancellation that would not expose them to legal liability.

“You’re talking about 19 of our precious children, and I say that because you don’t have to be the biological father or mother,” Turner said during Friday afternoon’s briefing at City Hall. “They’re our kids. And you know what? They’re not Democratic kids, right? They’re not Republican kids. They’re just kids.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee also supported the convention’s cancellation.

“They have to cancel it today, tomorrow and the next day. They have to tell Donald Trump to stay home,” Jackson Lee said.

SEE ALSO: NRA Convention in Houston Day 1: Who’s in attendance? Who canceled? Where are the protests?

Former President Donald Trump confirmed in a statement that he will attend the convention and speak Friday afternoon.

Survivors of the Parkland and Sandy Hook shootings also showed their solidarity at the press conference.

On February 14, 2018, a former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 students and adults.

A survivor of that shooting, David Hogg, started March For Our Lives, a student-led demonstration in support of gun laws. The organization provides support and resources to people and communities affected by gun violence.

SEE RELATED STORY: Parkland School Shooting 3 Years Later: Remembering Victims, From Hero Coach To College Students

“I’ve done this job for four long years. Four years more than I should have, because this matter should have ended before I was born. I was born a year after Columbine, and now I speak to you, the generation that’s fair said it didn’t work,” Hogg said.

The same gun used in the Parkland shooting has been used in so many other shootings, Hogg noted.

“Our enemies in this battle are not the gun owners. Our enemies in this battle aren’t even Republicans,” Hogg said.

The lawyer pointed to gun violence as the enemy in this battle.

Hogg didn’t use this platform to try to vote a single person or governor out of office, but to solicit allies in gun owners, teachers, and students.

“Even if you’re off one governor, if you still have this system where someone can let our kids die in their schools and communities, it doesn’t matter what the name is or what the letter is next to it. That system is still there,” he said.

Bishop James Dixon called on Governor Abbott to issue an executive order banning assault weapons. He also suggested that the red flag laws be implemented in Texas and across the United States.

“As long as we don’t have a ban, our leaders must be held accountable. They don’t belong to the public,” Dixon said.

Third, Dixon called on lawmakers to raise the age for buying a gun to 21.

“If you can’t buy liquor, a can of beer at 18, why buy a gun at 18?” asked Dixon.

Under the Gun Control Act, shotguns and shotguns and ammunition for shotguns or rifles may be sold to anyone 18 years of age or older.

Finally, he insisted on universal, thorough background checks.

“This needs to be done so that we can make sure that people who do have guns deserve to have a gun can be trusted with a gun,” Dixon said.

“Let the lives of children and the lives of grandmothers be more important than gun issues,” said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers Union, alluding to the Uvalde gunman who shot his own grandmother before the school disaster began.

SEE RELATED STORY: Uvalde School Shooting Timeline: Salvador Ramos Started Buying Guns 1 Week After Massacre

A protest organized by several local groups kicked off at Discovery Green on Friday. Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for Texas governor who interrupted a press conference in Uvalde the day after the shooting, was in attendance.

“We will never forget them. We will never forget Uvalde. The time for us to stop Uvalde was right after Sandy Hook. The time for us to stop Uvalde was right after Parkland. The time for us to stop Uvalde was right after Santa Fe. The time for us to stop the next school mass shooting is now, here today, with each of us,” O’Rourke said.

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