Children among protesters outside NRA convention as gun reform debate heats up after Texas school shooting

Three days after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas left 19 children and two adults dead, the National Rifle Association kicked off its annual convention about 280 miles from Houston.

Faced with declining membership and revenue and on the heels of a national debate on gun reform, keynote speakers such as former President Donald Trump attended the convention which is expected to continue through Sunday, according to the NRA’s website.

At the convention, Trump criticized Republicans who decided not to attend after the Uvalde shooting, saying, “unlike some, I didn’t disappoint you by not showing up.”

He also called the latest push for gun reform politically motivated.

“They want the total confiscation of firearms,” ​​he said. “That would be the first step. Once they get the first step, a second, a third, and a fourth. You’ll have a whole different look at the Second Amendment.”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz echoed Trump’s sentiments, saying, “We know that keeping guns away from law-abiding citizens does very little to keep them away from criminals.”

Meanwhile, outside the convention hall, Democratic state leaders, in addition to protesters who included children, expressed outrage at NRA convention attendees.

NRA protest, Houston
A young girl holds a sign during a protest outside the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston on Friday, Houston, Texas, May 27, 2022, as the NRA convention is held days after the Robb Elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Wally Skalij via Getty

“They prioritize power and profits over lives. I don’t know if you’ll ever find common ground with someone who operates like that,” the job candidate told CBS News. of Texas Democratic Governor Beto O’Rourke. O’Rourke earlier in the week confronted Texas Governor Greg Abbott over his response to the Uvalde shooting during a press conference.

On Friday night, an activist also confronted Cruz at a restaurant in Houston. In video Shared on social media, Indivisible Houston group board member Benjamin Hernandez asked Cruz why he attended the convention and implored the senator to support “tougher gun laws,” including background checks. Cruz starts to answer several times, but Hernandez speaks over him.

Security quickly intervened and came between the two, as Hernandez repeatedly asked Cruz, “Why does this keep happening?”

As security led Hernandez out of the restaurant, he yelled at Cruz, “Nineteen kids are dead. It’s in your hands. It’s in your hands. Ted Cruz, it’s in your hands!”

Hernandez told CBS News on Saturday that he confronted Cruz because he thought the senator “should be held accountable.”

Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee told CBS News that months before the midterm elections, she believes Washington will not remain divided on gun laws.

“I hope not. I hope my feeling of anxiety and my feeling of anger doesn’t run counter to our responsibility to work out a compromise and make it happen.”


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