Former President Donald Trump called on schools nationwide to embrace a security overhaul by installing fences, metal detectors, armed guards and highly trained teachers with concealed weapons while speaking in Houston during the the annual NRA convention.
He also called for other reforms, including tougher school discipline systems and making it much easier to confine the violent and mentally deranged to mental institutions.
The existence of evil in our world is no reason to disarm law-abiding citizens, the existence of evil is one of the best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens, Trump said.
The always politically contentious NRA rally is coming under greater scrutiny this year in light of this week’s deadly massacre in Uvalde, Texas, where an 18-year-old gunman stormed the Robb Elementary School and killed 21 people, including 19 children.
Dozens of protesters gathered near the George R. Brown Convention Center on Friday, while inside, participants roamed 14 acres of the latest weapons and equipment.
The NRA appeared to cancel its Grand Ol Night of Freedom concert scheduled for Saturday after virtually all of the performers pulled out. On Friday, country singer Jacob Bryant was apparently the only musician still scheduled, although on Twitter he said the event had been canceled on Thursday.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott also pulled out of a scheduled in-person appearance, opting to hold a press conference in Uvalde. (He delivered a pre-recorded video message instead.) Rep. Dan Crenshaw also backed down, citing conflict with his trip to Ukraine, as did Sen. John Cornyn for personal reasons.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at an NRA forum in Indiana in 2019.
Trump and conservative Texas Sen. Ted Cruz chose not to cancel.
Unlike some, I didn’t disappoint you by not showing up, said Trump, who was greeted by USA USA USA chants! before the start of his speech.
At the conference, the NRA sought to present the tragedy as an isolated incident caused by one of the few vile, hate-filled monsters, as CEO Wayne LaPierre put it. Trump said the shooter would be eternally condemned to burn in the fires of hell. A number of speakers called for increased school safety rather than additional gun control legislation.
What stops the bad guys with guns are the good guys with guns, Cruz said.
In Abbotts’ video, he echoed that message, saying: There are thousands of laws in effect across the country that restrict the possession or use of firearms, laws that have no prevented madmen from committing evil deeds. He argued that the Uvalde shooter had committed a crime before the attack even began by illegally bringing a gun to a school campus on probation, Abbott claimed, that gun restrictions wouldn’t have worked either.
The company that made the shooters’ weapon, Daniel Defense, had planned to attend the convention but abruptly backtracked this week. The gunmaker, known for enthusiastically marketing its guns, such as a May ad featuring a young child holding an AR-15-style rifle, promised attendees giveaways, DEMOS, CELEBRITY APPEARANCES AND MORE AGAIN !
The company said after Tuesday’s shooting that it would cooperate with law enforcement in all investigations, and offered its thoughts and prayers to the families and community devastated by the evil act.
The NRA spent tens of millions of dollars to advance Trump in 2016, according to a joint report by campaign finance organization OpenSecrets and nonprofit journalism The Trace. The group was in much worse financial shape heading into the 2020 race, though it nonetheless shelled out millions of dollars on Trump’s behalf again.
Earlier this year, as part of an effort by the New York Attorney General to dissolve the NRA for alleged insider trading and other misconduct, the group attempted to declare bankruptcy, but a federal judge rejected the plan.
Tensions remain high in Texas as officials have provided conflicting details about the massacre, including why it took law enforcement over an hour to kill the shooter, even though officers had arrived at the school minutes after the attack began.
In her speech, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem urged NRA members to resist gun control efforts, despite the upheaval. It is now that we double, she said.
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