American Pie singer Don McLean drops out of NRA convention after Texas school shooting

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Singer-songwriter Don McLean has announced he’s backing out of performing at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting this weekend in Houston, saying it would be ‘disrespectful and hurtful’ to perform for a few days after 19 children and two adults were killed in a mass shooting in the state.

McLean, who is best known for his legendary 1971 folk rock anthem “American Pie,” was scheduled to perform Saturday night at the NRA’s Grand Ole Night of Freedom concert. But those plans changed when an armed man, identified by police as Salvador Rolando Ramos, 18, entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and began shooting at children in the worst mass shooting at an American school in nearly a decade.

“In light of recent events in Texas, I have decided that it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA at their convention in Houston this week,” McLean, 76, said in a statement. “I’m sure everyone planning to attend this event is equally shocked and sickened by these events. After all, we are all Americans.

The news was first reported by the Portland Press Herald in Maine.

McLean is among a handful of artists who have announced that they will no longer be performing at the convention this weekend. Country and gospel singers Larry Gatlin and Larry Stewart of country band Restless Heart also said Thursday they were quitting in response to the shooting at Robb Elementary.

McLean’s exit comes as gunsmith Daniel Defence, who made the rifle used by Ramos in Tuesday’s massacre, also appears to have pulled out of the NRA convention. The NRA exhibitor list no longer includes Daniel Defense among the hundreds of gunsmiths, gun parts manufacturers and taxidermists appearing in the convention hall. The stand once claimed by Daniel Defense is now listed only as “NRA”.

The maker of the Uvalde shooter’s rifle released an image of a child with a gun before the massacre

The NRA’s annual meeting this weekend in Houston, about 275 miles from Uvalde, is the gun lobby’s largest gathering this year and comes after cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will include discussions from a panel that includes former President Donald Trump, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).

Trump to speak at NRA meeting in Texas days after school shooting

The NRA, which has more than 5 million members, is fighting a lawsuit filed by the New York Attorney General accusing its leaders of wrongfully spending millions of dollars.

Critics have blasted the NRA and Republicans who have accepted millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the organization during their political careers. According to data compiled by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in 2019.

After Texas shooting, Republicans face online anger over NRA money

RNA tweeted On Wednesday the organization and its members sent their “sincere condolences” to the families of the victims of “this horrible and perverse crime”. The gun rights organization also noted that the convention would continue and that the NRA would “reflect on these events.”

“While an investigation is ongoing and facts are still emerging, we recognize this to be the act of a lone and deranged criminal,” the organization tweeted. “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 securing our schools.”

On Thursday, Gatlin said he was also abandoning the stage because of what he called “outdated and thoughtless NRA positions regarding guns” in the United States.

“I cannot, in good conscience, perform at the NRA convention in Houston this weekend,” Gatlin, 74, said in a statement. “While I agree with most of the positions held by the NRA, I have come to believe that while background checks won’t stop every lunatic with a gun, it’s up to at the very least a step in the right direction to try to prevent the kind of tragedy we saw this week in Uvalde – in my beloved, crying TEXAS.

Gatlin added that while he thought arming the teachers would have helped prevent the mass shootings, the NRA needed to do more in light of the shootings at Uvalde.

“My prayers and thoughts are with all who are hurting, and I pray that the NRA will reconsider some of its outdated and thoughtless positions regarding guns in AMERICA,” he said. “I’m a 2nd Amendment guy, but the 2nd Amendment shouldn’t apply to everyone. It’s so easy.”

Stewart echoed Gatlin in his support for the Second Amendment, but said the events at Uvalde were too much for him.

“I have therefore made the decision to step down as a performer for the NRA convention this weekend, especially as the event is imminent,” Stewart, 63, said in a statement. “I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and know that the NRA is a great organization that teaches strict gun safety with a membership of law-abiding citizens who love our country. I just think that’s what’s best for me right now.

Among the artists still scheduled to play the Saturday NRA event is country music artist Lee Greenwood, whose “God Bless the USA” has become a staple at Trump rallies. Trump confirmed on his social network, Truth Social, that he still plans to speak at the weekend convention.

“America needs real solutions and real leadership right now, not politicians and partisanship,” Trump wrote. “That’s why I will keep my long-standing commitment to speak in Texas at the NRA convention and deliver an important speech in America. In the meantime, we all continue to pray for the victims, their families, and for our whole nation – we are all in this together!

Isaac Arnsdorf contributed to this report.

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