NRA spokesman unflinching on gun rights after school shooting – Boston News, Weather, Sports

HOUSTON (AP) — One after another, they took the stage at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention and condemned the massacre of 19 students and two teachers at a statewide elementary school. And one by one, they insisted that further restricting access to firearms was not the answer to prevent future tragedies.

“The existence of evil in our world is no reason to disarm law-abiding citizens,” said former President Donald Trump, who was among Republicans who lined up to address the gun rights lobby group on Friday as thousands of protesters gathered angry about guns were outside demonstrated violence.

“The existence of evil is one of the best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens,” he said.

The gathering came just three days after the Uvalde shooting, as the nation grappled with revelations about it Students locked in a classroom The gunman repeatedly called 911 during the attack — one asked “Please send the police now” — while officers waited in the hallway for more than 45 minutes.

The NRA had said conventioneers would “reconsider” the shooting at the event and “pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members and pledge to redouble our commitment to keeping our schools safe.”

The meeting was the first for the ailing organization since 2019 after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The organization has attempted to regroup the following a time of serious legal and financial turmoil These included 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 influence dwindle after a significant drop in political spending.

Wayne LaPierre, the group’s embattled CEO, opened the program with remarks lamenting that “twenty-one beautiful lives have been ruthlessly and indiscriminately wiped out by a criminal monster.”

Still, he said that “restricting the basic human rights of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves is not the answer. It never was.”

Later, several hundred people in the auditorium stood and bowed their heads in a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting. During the speeches, several thousand people were in the auditorium, fewer than those gathered outside. Many places were empty.

Trump accused Democrats of exploiting the tragedy and demonizing gun owners.

“When Joe Biden accused the gun lobby, he was talking about Americans like you,” Trump said, referring to the president’s emotional plea in a national address by asking, “When in God’s name are we going to stand against the gun lobby?”

Calling for an overhaul of school security and the national approach to mental health, he told the group that every school building should have a single entry point, strong perimeter fences, metal detectors and hardened classroom doors, and every school should have a police officer or armed guard on duty at all times. He also once again called for trained teachers to be able to carry concealed weapons in the classroom.

He and other speakers overlooked the security upgrades that were in place Already exists in the elementary school and did not stop the gunman, who entered the building through a back door held open.

According to a district safety plan, Uvalde’s schools have a wide range of safety measures in place. The district had four police officers and four auxiliary counselors, according to the plan, which appears to date to the 2019-20 school year. It also had software to monitor social media for threats and software to verify school attendance.

Security experts say the Uvalde case shows how strengthening schools can backfire. A lock on the classroom door, for example—one of the most basic and recommended security measures in schools—kept victims in and police out.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who like Trump is a potential presidential candidate in 2024, railed against Democrats’ calls for universal background checks for gun purchases and a ban on assault weapons, instead pointing to family breakdowns, declining church attendance and social media bullying and video gaming as well the real problems.

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

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, another potential presidential candidate, said calls for further restrictions on gun access are “all about control, and it’s garbage. I won’t buy it for a second and neither should you.”

Some scheduled speakers and performers withdrew from the event, including several Texas lawmakers and “American Pie” singer Don McLean, who said “it would be disrespectful” to continue his show after the recent mass shooting in the country. Dan Patrick, Lt. gov. of Texas said Friday morning he decided not to speak at an event breakfast after “prayerful consideration and discussion with NRA officials.”

“While I am a strong Second Amendment supporter and an NRA member, I do not wish my coming today to bring any additional pain or grief to the families and all those suffering in Uvalde,” he wrote in a statement.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who was supposed to be in attendance, spoke with pre-recorded video at the convention instead.

Outside the Congress Hall, protesters gathered in a park where police erected metal barriers – some holding crosses with photos of victims of the Uvalde shooting.

“Murderer!” some shouted in Spanish. “Shame on you!” others shouted at the participants.

Among the protesters was singer Little Joe of the popular Tejano band Little Joe y La Familia, who said that in the more than 60 years he’s been touring the world, no other country he’s been to has had so many mass shootings faced like the US

“Obviously this is the best country in the world,” he said. “But of what use is it to us if we cannot protect life, especially that of our children?”

Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Abbott in the gubernatorial race, ticked off a list of previous school shootings and called on those attending Congress to “join us to make sure it doesn’t happen again in this country.”

While Biden and Democrats have renewed calls in Congress for stricter gun laws After the Uvalde shooting, NRA executives and other conference participants dismissed talk of banning or restricting access to firearms.

Samuel Thornburg, 43, a maintenance worker at Southwest Airlines in Houston who attended the NRA meeting, said, “Guns are not evil. It’s the people who commit the crime that are evil. Our schools need to be more closed. It needs more guards.”

There is precedent for the NRA to rally during local mourning and controversy. The organization held an abridged version of their 1999 Denver meeting about a week after the fatal Columbine High School shooting in Colorado.

Texas experienced one Series of mass shootings in recent years. During this time, the Republican-led Legislature and the Governor relaxed gun laws.

Most US adults believe mass shootings would be less frequent if guns were harder to obtain and believe schools and other public places have become less safe than they were two decades ago, polls show.

There is also majority support for many specific measures that would limit access to arms or ammunition. For example, a May AP-NORC poll found that 51% of US adults support a nationwide ban on the sale of AR-15 rifles and similar semi-automatic weapons. But the numbers are very partisan: 75% of Democrats agree, versus just 27% of Republicans.

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

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)

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https://whdh.com/news/nra-speakers-unshaken-on-gun-rights-after-school-massacre/ NRA spokesman unflinching on gun rights after school shooting – Boston News, Weather, Sports

Nate Jones

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