Parents who lost children to gun violence expected to rally outside 2022 NRA Convention

As the start of the National Rifle Association Convention in Houston nears this weekend, many are preparing to protest in downtown.

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One mother who will be protesting is Calandrian Kemp whose son was shot to death. He was shot by teenagers as bullets flew during an argument that didn’t have anything to do with him.

"My son, George Kemp Jr., was 20-years-old when he was murdered in Richmond, TX," she said. 

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Now an 18-year-old in Uvalde, Texas is accused of gunning down children as they simply attended elementary school. 

"18 years old? If psychologists tell you the brain isn’t developed until age 25 - why did this child have a gun?" Kemp asks. 

Kemp says she wants the age requirement to buy a gun to be increased, and strict background checks put in place. 

"If you’re going through mental challenges, mental health crises you do not need to have a gun, and I’m going to be honest I can say for myself I am a mother that lost a child," Kemp adds. "I have experienced so much grief, so much trauma I don’t need a gun because my emotions they go up and down." 

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There is certainly outrage, particularly from parents who’ve lost kids to gun violence, that the NRA is still holding its convention here in Houston just after that school massacre in Uvalde. 

"I used to just lay on my son's grave and couldn’t move, and I was just so crippled and paralyzed," Kemp says. "I know what the parents in Uvalde are going through." 

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Kemp has now joined the non-profit Moms Demand Action. She and the rest of the group will be protesting the National Rifle Association’s convention. 

"It is about what is our human right to live, and it’s about safety," she explained. "It’s about the laws that we have on the books that are common sense."

"When you put the focus on the NRA and its convention, an organization that’s strongly behind our Second Amendment rights then you take the focus off the tragedy that occurred in Uvalde and put the focus on partisan politics which I don’t think is where it should be," says Conservative Republicans of Texas President Jared Woodfill who does not believe the convention should be canceled.

"Yeah things do need to be done, but the focus doesn’t need to be on politics, politicians, or organizations," he continued. "The focus needs to be upon the crisis that we’re dealing with, mental health issues, identifying folks before they commit extreme acts of hatred and violence. Identifying the folks who have underlying mental health issues."

Kemp says after the horrendous gun violence just up the highway and just a few days ago, now hosting a convention here in Houston that celebrates guns seems heartless.

"Absolutely not," Woodfill argued. "I think the convention celebrates our Second Amendment rights."

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Kemp adds after such horrendous gun violence at Robb Elementary hosting the convention seems inappropriate.  

"It has nothing to do about the right to hold it, but it’s just about being human and having compassion for those who are suffering," she explained.

MORE: What we know about the victims in Uvalde

"The problem I think with that argument is you’re putting the focus on an inanimate object," Woodfill added. "So if it wasn’t a gun it could be a car. It could be a knife." 

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"But here’s the deal, it was a gun," Kemp countered. "It was a gun. So we have to focus on what it was and not what it possibly could have been." 

The convention is set to start Friday at the George R. Brown Convention Center and runs throughout the weekend. A number of groups are expected to protest. You can connect with Moms Demand Action by texting the word "ready" to 64433

According to HPD Chief Troy Finner, there will be a protest and counter-protest zone at Discovery Green.