Monday, June 27, 2022

NRA speaker steadfast on gun rights after school massacre

HOUSTON ( Associated Press) — One by one, he took the stage at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston and condemned the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school across the state. And one by one, he insisted that further restricting access to firearms was not the answer to preventing future tragedies.

“The existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law-abiding citizens,” said former President Donald Trump, who was among Republicans who lined up to speak in front of a gun rights lobbying group Friday. Because thousands of protesters were angry about the gun. Violence was demonstrated outside.

“The existence of evil is one of the best reasons for law-abiding citizens,” he said on Friday.

The gathering took place just three days after the shooting in Uvalde and as the nation was grappling with revelations that students trapped inside a classroom with a gunman repeatedly called 911 during the attack – a “please send the police now” – as The officers waited in the hallway for more than 45 minutes.

The NRA said convention attendees would “reflect” on the shootings at the event and “pray for the victims, recognize our Patriotic members and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools safer.”

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne Lapierre, former President Donald Trump at the George R. Brown presents to speak during the Leadership Forum at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting, held at the Convention Center. ( Associated Press Photo/Michael Wyke)

This was the first meeting for the beleaguered organization since 2019 after a gap of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization is attempting to regroup after a period of serious legal and financial turmoil including a failed bankruptcy attempt, a class-action lawsuit, and a fraud investigation by the New York Attorney General. Once one of the most powerful political organizations in the country, the NRA has seen its impact following a significant drop in political spending.

The group’s embattled chief executive Wayne Lapierre opened the show with remarks about “21 beautiful lives ruthlessly and indiscriminately extinguished by a criminal monster”.

Still, he said that “restricting the fundamental human rights of law-abiding Americans to protect themselves is not the answer. It never has been.”

Later, hundreds of people stood up in the auditorium and bowed their heads in a moment of silence for the victims of the shootings. Several thousand people were inside the auditorium during the speeches, which appeared to be less than the numbers gathered outside. Many seats remained vacant.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during the Leadership Forum at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Friday, May 27, 2022 in Houston.  (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Former President Donald Trump speaks during the Leadership Forum at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Friday, May 27, 2022 in Houston. ( Associated Press Photo/Michael Wyke)

“When Joe Biden blamed the gun lobby, he was talking about Americans like you,” Trump said in a national address, referring to the president’s emotional plea, “when in the name of God we are talking about the gun lobby.” Are you going to stand up?”

Trump called for a change in the nation’s approach to school safety and mental health, telling the group that every school building should have an entrance, strong exterior fences, metal detectors and rigid classroom doors, and that every school should have one. Must be a police officer or armed guard. duty at all times. He once again called on trained teachers to be able to carry concealed weapons in the classroom.

He and other speakers ignored the security upgrades already in place at the elementary school and did not stop the gunman, who entered the building through a back door that had been kept open.

People gather outside the George R. Brown Convention Center to protest the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association on Friday, May 27, 2022 in Houston.  (AP photo/JC Hong)
People gather outside the George R. Brown Convention Center to protest the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association on Friday, May 27, 2022 in Houston. ( Associated Press photo/JC Hong)

As per the District Security Plan, Uvalde Schools has a wide range of security measures. As per the plan there were four police officers and four assistant counselors in the district, which appears to be from the 2019-20 school year. It also had software for monitoring social media and software for screening school attendees.

Security experts say the Uvalde case shows how a strong school can backfire. For example, a lock on the classroom door – one of the most basic and widely recommended school security measures – keeps victims in and the police out.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who, like Trump, is considered a potential presidential candidate in 2024, voiced Democrats’ against universal background checks to ban gun purchases and assault-style weapons and its Instead of pointing to broken families, church attendance declined. Social media bullying and video games as real problems.

“Tragedies like this week’s incident are a mirror that forces us to ask tough questions, demanding that we see where our culture is failing,” he said. “We must not react to evil and tragedy by abandoning the Constitution or infringing on the rights of our law-abiding citizens.”

Ted Cruz, R-Texas, George R. on Friday, May 27, 2022 in Houston, Texas.  Brown speaks during the Leadership Forum at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting held at the Convention Center.  (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Ted Cruz, R-Texas, George R. on Friday, May 27, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Brown speaks during the Leadership Forum at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting held at the Convention Center. ( Associated Press Photo/Michael Wyke)

The event was supported by several Texas lawmakers and some scheduled speakers and performers, including “American Pie” singer Don McLean, who said “it would be disgraceful” to go ahead with their act after the country’s latest mass shooting. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said Friday morning that he had decided not to speak at an event breakfast after “prayers and discussions with NRA officials.”

“Despite being an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment and a member of the NRA, I do not wish my presence today to bring any additional pain or suffering to the families and all those suffering in Uvalde,” he wrote in a statement.

Greg Abbott of Texas Gov., who was to attend, instead addressed the conference via pre-recorded video.

Outside the convention hall, protesters gathered in a park, where police erected metal barriers – some holding crosses with photographs of Uvalde shooting victims.

“Killers!” Some shouted in Spanish. “You should be ashamed!” shouted at the other attendees.

Among the protesters was Little Joe, singer of the popular Tejano band Little Joe y La Familia, who said that in the more than 60 years he has toured the world, no other country has faced as many mass shootings as the US.

“Of course, it’s the best country in the world,” he said. “But if we can’t protect lives, especially of our children, what is it to us?”

Protesters hold a rally in Discovery Green Park, across the street from the National Rifle Association's annual meeting held at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Friday, May 27, 2022 in Houston.  (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Protesters hold a rally in Discovery Green Park, across the street from the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting held at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Friday, May 27, 2022 in Houston. ( Associated Press Photo/Michael Wyke)

Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Abbott in the gubernatorial race, removed a list of past school shootings and called on convention attendees to “join us to ensure that It no longer happens in this country.”

While Biden and Democrats in Congress have renewed calls for stricter gun laws after the Uvalde shooting, NRA board members and others who attended the convention rejected talk of banning or limiting access to firearms. .

Samuel Thornberg, 43, a maintenance worker for Southwest Airlines in Houston who was attending the NRA meeting, said: “Guns aren’t evil. It’s the people who are committing crimes that are evil. Our schools are closed further. Needs to be done. Needs to be more guarded.”

There is an example of the NRA gathering during local mourning and controversy. The organization moved forward with a shortened version of their 1999 meeting in Denver, about a week after the fatal shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

Texas has experienced a series of mass shootings in recent years. During that time, the Republican-led legislature and governor relaxed gun laws.

Most American adults think mass shootings would happen less if guns were harder to obtain and believe schools and other public places would become less safe than they were two decades ago, polls found .

Several specific measures that block access to guns or ammunition also have majority support. For example, a May Associated Press-NORC survey found that 51% of American adults support a nationwide ban on the sale of AR-15 rifles and similar semi-automatic weapons. But the numbers are highly partisan, with 75% percent of Democrats agreeing, while only 27% Republicans.

Although personal firearms are allowed at the convention, guns were not permitted during the session featuring Trump due to Secret Service security protocols.

Colvin reported from New York. Associated Press writer David A. Lieb contributed from Jefferson City, Missouri.

More information about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/school-shootings.

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Nation World News Desk
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