The National Rifle Association, America’s largest gun-rights advocacy group, began its three-day annual meeting in Houston Friday — three days after 19 children were massacred 280 miles away in the town of Uvalde in the worst school shooting in a decade.
Hundreds of protesters gathered behind police fencing outside the members-only event at the George R. Brown Convention Center, chanting, “NRA, shame on you!”
In a nearby park, protesters marched with signs calling for a new assault weapon ban and other stepped-up gun control measures.
The demonstrators included children who wore photos of the slain students at Robb Elementary School around their necks. One boy also wore a sign that read, “am I next?”
“They have the audacity not to cancel in respect of these families,” said protestor Johnny Mata, who called on the NRA to “quit being a part of the assassination of children in American schools.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, had said Wednesday that the convention could not be canceled, noting it had been scheduled more than two years ago.
“We cannot cancel a conference or convention because we may not agree with the subject matter,” he said. “We simply can’t do that. That would subject the city to a number of lawsuits.”
Some protesters singled out Texas politicians, with one sign reading “Uvalde is on you, [Gov. Gregg] Abbott,” and another saying simply, “eat s–t, Ted Cruz.”
Abbott announced Thursday he would not be attending the event in person, though he would make a recorded address. Cruz and former President Donald Trump were both still expected to speak at the conference later Friday.
Inside the hall, NRA members and other attendees were greeted by booths and backlit display cases showing off the wares of several weapons manufacturers.
The organization said attendees could carry personal firearms in the convention center, but guns were not allowed in the hall where Trump was due to speak.
With Post wires