HOUSTON (KXAN) — Firearms manufacturers, lobbyists and customers will attend the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association this weekend at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.
The event is free for NRA members, their spouse and any of their children under 18 years old.
Some of the educational topics include: “Immediate Responder: When Seconds Count,” “Sniping Today in the Ukraine,” and “Refuse to be a Victim: Crime Prevention Series.”
The session titled, “Gun Control Myths: How Politicians, the Media, and Botched ‘Studies’ have Twisted the Facts on Gun Control,” has been canceled. John Lott Jr. was scheduled to speak at the session.
The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) will hold “Political Update” sessions on their plans for a midterm fight to “protect our rights.”
Concealed carry is not allowed at the weekend-long event, but attendees may still open carry firearms, according to the event’s website.
However, firearms will not be permitted in the convention center’s general assembly hall during the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum Friday afternoon. Former President Donald Trump will attend the forum and the U.S. Secret Service protections do not allow weapons at his events.
In addition the Trump, the forum lists its speakers as NRA executive VP Wayne LaPierre, NRA-ILA executive director Jason Ouimet, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, North Carolina Lt. Governor Mark Robinson, Representative Dan Crenshaw and Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.
However, Crenshaw and Cornyn are now not speaking at the event due to schedule conflicts. Cornyn canceled his appearance due to an unexpected change in his schedule prior to the Uvalde shooting, according to Murphy McCollough, Cornyn’s press secretary. According to The Texas Tribune, Crenshaw will instead be in Kyiv, Ukraine to tour the reopened U.S. Embassy.
At a press conference Wednesday, Abbott was indefinite on whether he would still attend.
“As far as future plans are concerned, listen, I’m living moment-to-moment right now,” Abbott said. “My heart, my head and my body are in Uvalde right now, and I’m here to help the people who are hurting.”
Trump posted on the social media site Gab to say that the U.S. “needs real solutions and real leadership” and affirms that he will speak at the conference. He also asked his followers to pray for the Uvalde victims and their families.
KXAN reached out to rest of the speakers for comment on the NRA Annual Meeting and have not yet heard back.
The NRA released a statement on Wednesday:
“Our deepest sympathies are with the families and victims involved in this horrific and evil crime. On behalf of our members, we salute the courage of school officials, first responders and others who offered their support and services.”
“Although an investigation is underway and facts are still emerging, we recognize this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal. As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner spoke about the NRA Annual Meeting during Wednesday’s city council meeting:
Turner said that he has seen calls to cancel the convention after Tuesday’s mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two adults were killed by an 18-year-old gunman.
“That convention has been on the books for more than two years. It is a contractual arrangement, and we simply cannot cancel a conference or a convention because we may not agree with the subject matter,” Turner said. “But I think the greater question is why are elected officials coming to the NRA to speak? What message does that send?”
He dismissed Cruz’s call to arm teachers as unserious, and told voters to elect politicians who want gun control.
“You can’t send prayers and condolences on one day and then go and championing guns the next,” Turner said. “We are more protective of our guns than we are of our families.”
Demonstrators plan to protest at Discovery Green in opposition to the NRA, located across the street from the convention center.
“Every person speaking at this NRA event has blood on their hands. For the Black lives of Buffalo, the  lost in Uvalde, let’s shut it down,” the Facebook post reads.