HOUSTON, Texas (KXAN) — Three days after the deadly Uvalde school shooting, the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting got underway Friday, 300 miles away in Houston.
NRA members were greeted by dozens of chanting protesters as they filed into the George R. Brown Convention Center downtown.
Some of the demonstrators held photos of the 19 children and two teachers killed three days earlier.
Houston resident Matthew Rarey shouted, “shame!” at the attendees from across the street.
“It’s shameful that these individuals can see this happening on a regular basis,” Rarey told KXAN. “We’ve had over 200 [mass shootings] in 2022 alone. I don’t understand where the disconnect is.”
At 30 years old, Rarey said his first memory of a mass shooting was the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in 2012.
“I feel like the walking dead,” he said. “We’re all the walking dead. It could be any one of us.”
Convention-goer Julie Willis, a concealed carry handbag designer from Austin, said she cried on the plane, thinking of the Uvalde victims.
“I don’t think any responsible gun owner didn’t take a minute and feel that for sure,” Willis told KXAN as she entered the convention center.
“Hopefully, we’re able to have more meaningful and deliberate conversations because of it,” she said.
Former President Trump is expected to speak at the convention Friday afternoon, following remarks by NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.
Sen. Ted Cruz is also expected to deliver remarks. Sen. John Cornyn announced he would not attend citing personal reasons.
Gov. Gregg Abbott announced Thursday evening he would remain in Uvalde and hold a media briefing on the shooting. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also bowed out.