HOUSTON - At this weekend's NRA Convention in downtown Houston, the tragedy of the Uvalde massacre was front and center. The organization's leadership conference included a long list of speakers, including a recorded message from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, South Dakota governor Kristi Noem, Senator Ted Cruz, and former President Donald Trump.
"What a horrible, horrible thing it was," said the former president, "To see it, to watch it, to hear about it."
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He echoed the sentiments of all the speakers, mourning the tragic violence in Uvalde, but pointing the blame at security conditions that allowed the murderous rage.
"This is not a matter of money, this is a matter of will," he said. "If the United States has $40 billion to send to Ukraine, we should be able to do whatever it takes to keep our children safe at home."
To illustrate his point, Mr. Trump recognized volunteer security guard Jack Wilson, who shot and killed an armed intruder who killed two churchgoers near Fort Worth in 2019.
"What was talked about today is what we need to be doing," says Wilson of the need to protect innocents.
Outside the GRB, attendees watched demonstrators demand new laws and gun bans, with acknowledgement that this week's tragedy makes for an uncomfortable time to gather, but resolved that they're on the right side of the argument.
"The NRA did not do this. NRA members did not do this," says member Justin Johnson, pointing toward demonstrators. "They're not coming up with solutions. They're just creating a problem."
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NRA member Brandon Jordon added, "The laws are in place; They've been in place. We just need to check ourselves."
Despite protestor demands, the message from the NRA is that continuing gun violence is proof that their work is far from over.