Days after Texas mass shooting, US gun lobby to hold event; Trump to speak
As the United States still emerges from the shock after Tuesday's shooting at an elementary school in Texas' Uvalde city, one of the country’s biggest gun lobbies - the National Rifle Association (NRA) - has pressed ahead with preparations for its annual gathering starting on Friday in Houston, about 450 km away from Tuesday's crime scene.
A report by news agency Reuters on Friday said that the NRA is likely to shrug off new calls for more gun control measures despite the latest shooting not just in Uvalde, but also at a supermarket in New York's Buffalo earlier in May.
Former United States President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak during the annual gathering on Friday.
A page on the NRA's website that is dedicated to the gathering paid tributes to the victims of the Uvalde school shooting 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,” the website said.
“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,” it added.
The association's decision to proceed with the annual gathering despite planned protests is part of a decades-long strategy of standing up to pressure for gun control that harks back to the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 Colorado state, Reuters reported.
Two students of the high school, Eric David Harris and Dylan Bennet Klebold killed 12 classmates and a teacher before they died by suicide. The Columbine massacre is considered to be one of the deadliest school shootings in the United States.
At that time, the NRA's annual meeting was set to take place in Denver, just days after the shooting. However, the meeting was scaled down and the accompanying gun show was cancelled, Reuters further reported citing media reports from that time.
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