NRA opens gun convention in Texas days after deadly school shooting

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Donald Trump at the 2019 convention. He is due to speak again this year.  (AP)
Donald Trump at the 2019 convention. He is due to speak again this year. (AP)

Former US President Donald Trump and other leading Republicans will be among speakers at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual convention, which begins in Texas on Friday.

It comes just days after a teenage gunman stormed an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, which left 21 people dead, including 19 children.

Leaders of the gun-rights lobbying group said they would use the three-day event to “reflect on” the tragedy, the state’s worst school shooting in its history.

Protests are expected by those seeking gun reform, meanwhile a vigil for the victims of the Uvalde mass school shooting has been held outside the NRA’s headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

While Mr Trump and other Republicans, including Texas senator Ted Cruz, are going ahead with appearances, some scheduled speakers and performers have backed out.

Teaxs governor Greg Abbott, who was due to attend, said he will now address the conference with a pre-recorded video.

American Pie singer Don McLean also dropped out, saying it would be “disrespectul” to go to the event.

Meanwhile, Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Mr Abbott in the 2022 Texas governor’s race, said he would be attending a protest outside the convention on Friday.

It comes amid calls for stricter gun laws in the US, with President Joe Biden and Democrat lawmakers backing reforms.

Gun control has been a longstanding point of contention in America, and the debate was reignited following the deadly school shooting, which saw 18-year-old Salvador Ramos shoot his grandmother in the face before driving to Robb Elementary School and opening fire on students on Tuesday.

He killed 19 children and two teachers, injuring many others, before eventually being shot dead by police.

 (AP)
(AP)

It has sparked widespread anger across the country, in what is the 27th school shooting in the US this year alone.

But instead of curbing gun laws, NRA board member, Phil Journey, said the focus should be on better mental health care and he would not support banning or limiting access to firearms.

The pro-gun lobbying group said that people attending the show will “reflect on” what happened in Uvalde, and “pray for the victims, recognise our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure.”

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