The NRA’s annual convention returns to Dallas this weekend. Here’s what to know

Dallas last hosted the convention in 2018. Since then, NRA leaders and key allies have been embroiled in controversy, and gun violence continues to spark national mourning and debate.

By Toluwani Osibamowo, KERA NewsMay 17, 2024 9:00 am,

From KERA News:

The National Rifle Association is set to once again draw crowds and political pushback during its annual convention in Dallas this weekend.

Dallas last hosted the convention in 2018, which welcomed an estimated 80,000 attendees. Since then, the association has attempted to file for bankruptcy, seen the resignation of its longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre and leaders including LaPierre were found liable for misspending millions of dollars on lavish private flights and vacations.

Still, the group is projected to receive up to $1 million in incentive money from the state and Visit Dallas. Its security plans and how much it paid for space at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center are still being kept under wraps.

Gov. Greg Abbott and former President Donald Trump will also return as some of the top speakers at the group’s leadership forum Saturday afternoon — this time in the midst of Trump’s hush money trial involving allegedly falsified business records and porn star Stormy Daniels.

NRA conventions in other cities over the years have drawn protestors mourning lives lost to everyday gun violence and mass shootings. This weekend’s convention falls on the sixth anniversary of the day a Santa Fe High School student shot and killed eight students and two teachers, injuring thirteen others. The shooter was deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial, but a civil lawsuit over the shooting is set for July.

Wayne LaPierre, former CEO and executive vice-president of the National Rifle Association speaks at the National Rifle Association Convention in Indianapolis, Friday, April 14, 2023. LaPierre stepped down from the group earlier this year amid allegations of corruption and mismanagement.
Michael Conroy / AP

It also comes exactly a week before the second anniversary of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, in which the gunman killed 19 children and two teachers with a legally purchased AR-15.

It was shortly after the Uvalde shooting that 41-year-old mother of three Miriam Sharma joined Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She said she was unsettled by the fact that the convention allows children under 18, coupled with the NRA’s opposition to gun control legislation enhancing background checks for gun buyers under age 21.

But Sharma said she and others are advocating for gun safety, not for anyone’s guns to be taken away.

“When you see an entity come to town who has blocked those very basic safety measures,” she said, “it’s disheartening and it makes you feel like money is more important than life.”

Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America will rally near the convention center Saturday morning for gun violence prevention.

But before that, Women for Gun Rights leaders will be at the Patriot Mobile booth Friday morning to discuss Second Amendment rights and “expose the dangers of gun control.”

“Moms Demand Action, Everytown USA, and the well-funded gun control lobby doesn’t speak for women like me,” WGR founder Dianna Muller wrote in a statement. “Gun rights are human rights and we are working around the clock in all 50 states to safeguard the Second Amendment so mothers, daughters, sisters, and others can defend themselves and their loved ones from harm.”

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