Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, May 27. The National Rifle Association, the largest gun-owning organization in the United States, held its annual meeting in Houston, Texas on the 27th as scheduled.
The small town of Uvaldi, the site of the shooting at Rob Elementary School that killed 19 children and two teachers on the 24th, is located in Texas, 450 kilometers away from the venue.
The National Rifle Association has a strong and deep-rooted influence in the United States. Over the years, it has repeatedly obstructed the introduction of stricter gun control laws at the federal and local levels. It is also the sponsor of many gun-friendly Republicans.
Its annual meeting is the largest annual marketing event for the American firearms industry. This year's annual meeting lasted for three days. Many Republican representatives were invited to speak, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former President Donald Trump.
However, under the shadow of the recent spate of mass shootings in the United States, especially the two mass shootings this month that killed more than 10 people, this "event" is destined to be surrounded by more protests.
NPR reported that when Cruz attended the memorial service for the victims of Rob Elementary School on the 26th, he was pressed by a reporter: "Why is there only frequent mass shootings in the United States?" He avoided answering.
The National Rifle Association allows individuals to enter the venue with guns, but according to Trump's security team requirements, the venue must "no guns" during Trump's speech on the 27th.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott originally planned to go to Houston to attend the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association and speak, but after the shooting at Rob Elementary School, he was under pressure from public opinion and temporarily changed his schedule to go to Uvalde.
However, he will deliver a video address to the NRA annual meeting.
There were also some invited speakers or performers who backed off, including two Republican congressmen from Texas and the well-known American singer Don McLean.
The latter said it would be "disrespectful" to sing at the annual meeting after the Rob Elementary School shooting.
Country music singer Larry Gatlin also temporarily decided to resign.
He hopes the NRA will "rethink its outdated and sloppy positions" on issues such as opposing legislation that would increase background checks for gun buyers.
On the cusp of firearms manufacturer Daniel Defense announced the day before the opening of the annual meeting that it would not participate in the meeting, citing "one of our products was mistakenly used for crime during the horrific tragedy in Uvalde, Texas", so , the annual meeting "was not the right time to market our products."
The gunman who broke into Rob Elementary School used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to shoot innocent teachers and students.
After the tragedy, Daniel Defense condemned this "evil act", expressed condolences to the victims, expressed condolences to the families of the victims, and promised to cooperate with the police investigation.
However, just a week ago, the company posted a promotional photo on social media Twitter: a boy sitting on the ground with an assault rifle on his lap, an adult pointing at the gun.
The accompanying text reads: "What way a child should walk should be trained from an early age, and he will not deviate from the direction when he grows up."
After the Rob Elementary School shooting, the company’s Twitter account set browsing restrictions so that only its approved “fans” could read tweets.
In an online statement, the NRA said attendees would "reflect" on the Rob Elementary school shooting, "pray for the victims" and "commit to redouble our commitment to keeping our schools safe."
It's just that the so-called "reflection" of the association's senior management is probably not the same direction as the calls of Democrats and "gun control" civilians.
Phil Juney, a member of the NRA's board of directors, said discussions should now focus on improving mental health care and preventing gun violence.
He stated that he did not support any move to ban or restrict legal access to firearms.
Several gun control advocacy groups are already preparing to organize protests outside the venue.
Cesar Espinosa, executive director of FIEL, a civil rights group in Houston, said: "This annual meeting is at the wrong time and place. We don't need just the condolences and prayers of lawmakers, we need them to take action. This crisis is affecting our community."
When asked by the media whether it is appropriate for the NRA to hold its annual meeting at this time, White House spokeswoman Karina Jean-Pierre replied: "It has nothing to do with the annual meeting itself, it is the leadership of the association that is really inappropriate... Proving time and time again that they are contributing to the problem of gun violence, not trying to solve it." She accused the association's top brass of representing the interests of gun makers, who are "selling weapons of war to young adults."
On the NRA's website, the association's CEO Wayne Lapierre said in a promotional video for the annual meeting: "Take a look at the thousands of guns made by top manufacturers. The enemy of freedom is real, and we need to do Get ready."
After each mass shooting, Democratic President Joseph Biden, faced with the voices of the people to "take action", always urged legislation to tighten gun control, but said that there was not much he could do within his executive authority, and he would kick the ball. to Congress.
The Rob Elementary School tragedy is one of the deadliest school shootings in the United States in 10 years.
A 20-year-old man shot and killed 20 students and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012; at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Middle School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018. A 19-year-old man attacked with a gun, killing 17 people.
The wave of "reflection" sparked by the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy has done little to improve gun laws in the United States.
Texas, as one of the main "positions" of the Republican conservatives, has repeatedly relaxed restrictions on the purchase of guns in the state despite a number of mass shootings in recent years.
These tragedies have not stopped the NRA from growing.
The 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado killed 12 students and one teacher. The association's annual meeting was held in Denver, Colorado, a week later. The then president told the attendees: "Such "horrible acts" cannot be allowed to change. opportunity to limit gun rights under the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
This time around, the NRA has no plans to cancel the event.
Beginning on the 26th, attendees from all over the world rushed to the venue one after another, received their participation certificates, and bought souvenirs, such as T-shirts with the words "The sun comes out, the gun goes out".
A metal fence has been erected in the park across the street from the convention center to block the gathering of protesters.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, said the city had to host the annual meeting because of a contract, but urged politicians not to attend.
"You can't pray and mourn the first day, and then run to promote guns the next day, that's not right!" (Shen Min)Keywords: