NRA Convention Went on ‘As Planned’ after Uvalde Shooting

by | Jun 2, 2022 | News

The National Rifle Association held its annual conference in Houston on Friday, just three days after and 300 miles away from the May 24 mass shooting of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Former President Donald Trump spoke at the convention, alongside other high-profile Republicans, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. Several politicians slated to speak did not attend the convention, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

CNN reported that Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the rifle used in the Uvalde shooting, would not attend the NRA convention after their product was “criminally misused.”

The opening remarks of Trump’s almost hourlong address disparaged those who didn’t “show up.” Abbot, who had opted to hold a press conference in Uvalde during the convention, pre-recorded a video in which he was “dismissive” of calls for gun reforms, said CNN. Fox News expressed that the NRA convention came at a time “when guns and gun control is elevated in public debate.”

President Joe Biden and Democrats have renewed calls for stronger gun control, with Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer attempting to negotiate a compromise on new laws. The New York Times said,

“By raising expectations that a bipartisan deal on gun safety, mental health and school security is even possible, Mr. Schumer is intensifying the spotlight — not only on Republicans and whether they will come to the table in good faith, but also on the institution of the Senate and its ability to grapple with a pressing national issue like gun violence, so searing in its trauma and obvious in its impact.”

Many Republicans have doubled down on their opposition to gun reform, instead blaming mental health and school security as the root causes of mass shootings, wrote Politico. This narrative echoed at the NRA event, with Trump blasting attempts from Democrats to curb access to guns, calling the push an “extreme political agenda.” He said, “Clearly, we need to make it far easier to confine the violent and mentally deranged into mental institutions.”

Protesters gathered outside the convention center in what CNN called “the tale of two Americas.” The demonstrators chanted alongside Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke while holding anti-NRA signs and displaying photos of shooting victims.

Trump spoke of arming teachers and revoking COVID relief money to create defenses at schools, before his “remarks later devolved into a stump speech,” according to Politico, as he pledged a more militaristic policing approach and pontificated on a range of issues.

NBC noted that Robb Elementary school had invested in a “significant safety plan,” with security officers, fencing, drills, and instructions to keep doors locked.

Repeating a refrain given less than an hour prior by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Trump said, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Cruz had also blamed “cultural sickness” for shootings.

A fact check from The New York Times evaluated claims made by Trump and Cruz, which in many cases downplayed the effectiveness of gun control measures and distorted data on gun ownership. Cruz erroneously argued that the rate of gun ownership hasn’t changed since 1972, but “acts of evil like we saw this week are on the rise.” Data rejects this claim, as the per capita number of guns in the U.S. doubled from 1968 to 2012 and has continued to rise, such that a 2018 survey showed about 1.2 guns for every person.

After the Uvalde shooting, NPR reported the rest of the convention went on as planned:

“Thousands gathered inside of the George R. Brown Convention Center for the NRA meeting while swaths of others convened outside in protest, advocating for gun control legislation. Both groups discussed the shooting, but those inside understood it as a moral issue — an act of evil that can’t be fixed by any law — and those outside saw it as a political and legislative matter.”

The NRA called the shooting a “horrific and evil crime,” saying it would “pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure.”


Image by Michael Wyke / AP


More from The Edge

Damn the Court; This Is Not What Democracy Looks Like

I could wait to fully try to clear my head and calm my heart but that might not happen soon enough, and this moment “we” are in is urgent. For friends who say they have lost hope I am reminded of what I have said too often in these last few years. Hope is not an...

Tears of Joy and Hope Turn to Tears of Despair

Nearly 30 years ago, I was in the kitchen on the phone with my obstetrician.   My husband, Tim, on the other side of the house, heard me scream with joy. Life-altering news made me cry. I was going to be a mom to a daughter. And the baby, yes, at that point it was my...

Normal Does Not Exist

“We are back to normal,” proclaimed Tribeca Festival cofounder Jane Rosenthal on June 8. The Variety story featured an interview with Rosenthal and cofounding partner Robert De Niro, expounding on the joys of in-person festivals. De Niro declared “The festival is...

Media Weigh Democracy Against Ratings on Jan. 6 Hearings

On January 6, 2020, a mob of supporters to then-President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol during the certification of Joe Biden’s presidency. Violence ensued throughout the Capitol and the following months saw a continuous effort from Donald Trump and his...

Is China Going to Invade Taiwan?

Only if the U.S. tries putting missiles or a Navy base on the island. I’ve never wanted to be a war correspondent. The closest I ever came was working as a reporter for Business Week based in Hong Kong during the mid ’90s, when I was dispatched by the magazine to...

What’s in the US’s Massive Military Aid Package to Ukraine

$17 billion could buy a lot of food aid. The first point that needs to be made in addressing the colossal $40 billion Ukraine arms aid package passed by Congress and rushed by plane to Asia for President Joe Biden’s signature is that it’s not all for weapons. The...

The COVID 10 Million

Around May 15, 2022, depending on whether you doomscroll the New York Times or the Center for Disease Control, the United States reached one million COVID deaths. Nadine Burke Harris, California’s former surgeon general, declared in a May 17 Al Jazeera story that the...

Breaking the ‘Shock and Familiarity’ of Mass Shootings

On May 24, a shooter in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 children and two adults, just 10 days after a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 people and injured three others. Another shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, killed five people including the shooter on June 1,...

Journalists’ ‘Neutrality Dogma’ Hides Republican Radicalization

Clear-eyed coverage of the Republican party’s radicalization “never lasts,” according to Thomas Zimmer, historian and visiting professor at Georgetown University. Rather, he took to Twitter to explain, journalists are publishing consistent uncritical coverage of...