Beto O’Rourke, gun control advocates protest outside NRA convention: ‘Shame on you’

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Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and hundreds of protesters gathered in downtown Houston Friday to voice their opposition to the 2022 National Rifle Association (NRA) convention beginning Friday in Texas just days after a fatal shooting in an elementary school in the state.

The protest was organized by several advocacy groups — including Moms Demand Action, March for Our Lives, the Harris County Democratic Party and Black Lives Matter Houston — and featured speeches from gun control advocates who called for swift legislative action by elected leaders to protect school children. .

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Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.
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Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.
(Digital Fox News)

The event took place in Discovery Green Park, across from the George R. Brown Convention Center, where the annual firearms convention is held. The protest comes after 19 children and two adults were fatally shot at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday.

O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor this year, pointed out that “our children’s lives are literally on the ballot” in the November election.

O’Rourke, speaking at the protest outside the NRA conference, addressed those gathered inside, saying “You are not our enemies. We are not yours. We are tending with an open and unarmed hand in a gesture of peace and brotherhood to welcome you to join so that this does not happen again in this country.But the time has come for you to react and join us.

And he warned that unless the NRA and its supporters change course and seek common ground on measures to stem gun violence, “we will defeat you, and we will defeat you, and we will leave you behind.” “.

Beto O'Rourke, Democratic candidate for Texas governor, speaks during a protest at the NRA's annual convention in Houston, Texas, U.S., Friday, May 27, 2022.

Beto O’Rourke, Democratic candidate for Texas governor, speaks during a protest at the NRA’s annual convention in Houston, Texas, U.S., Friday, May 27, 2022.
(Mark Felix/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

O’Rourke came to national attention midterm in 2018 by approaching the wrath of conservative Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas before launching an unsuccessful bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Liz Hanks, the leader of the Texas chapter of gun control group Moms Demand Action, was one of the main organizers of the event and addressed those in attendance.

Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.

Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.
(Digital Fox News)

“There are media from all over the world here today and do you know why?” Hanks asked. “Because we are an embarrassment around the world, because we cannot protect our children in their schools. We cannot protect our children in our churches. We cannot protect our community members in their groceries. We can ‘protect people who drive on the street.’

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“We know how to solve this problem,” she added. “We have data that shows us how we fix it.”

Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.

Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.
(Digital Fox News)

Hanks then urged the crowd to turn to the convention center and “tell them how you feel about how they haven’t acted on this issue.”

“Shame on you,” Hanks said as the crowd began chanting “shame” and making obscene gestures toward the center and those in attendance.

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Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.

Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.
(Digital Fox News)

Linda Bennett, who has lived in Houston for eight years, told Fox News Digital she wanted to protest because she was “sick of being sick and tired.”

“The governor we have now won’t change any gun laws…assault weapons kill a lot of people in five minutes.” Bennett said.

Houston resident Linda Bennett demonstrates outside the 2022 NRA convention in Texas.

Houston resident Linda Bennett demonstrates outside the 2022 NRA convention in Texas.
(Digital Fox News)

When asked what she thought she should do to immediately remedy the situation, Bennett replied, “The first thing is to ban assault weapons.”

“Nobody needs an assault weapon to protect themselves or their family, absolutely not,” she said. “Assault weapons are weapons of war. We are not at war so there is no reason for anyone in this country to own one and it is shocking to know that there are more guns in the United States than there are people.”

Francisco Martinez told Fox News Digital that he and his wife Mary traveled more than 10 hours from Roswell, New Mexico to protest in Houston.

Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.

Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.
(Digital Fox News)

“We drove because we care and we both want to stand up for school kids who can’t speak for themselves,” Martinez said. “When will the madness end? It’s not hard to figure out. How many more will die because politicians don’t care?”

“The country is so divided right now and it’s a problem that everyone wants a solution to,” he added. “Now is the time to work together and put schoolchildren first.”

Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.

Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.
(Digital Fox News)

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Several Texas elected officials were originally scheduled to speak in person at the NRA convention, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, but those plans were later changed.

Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.

Protesters stand outside the NRA convention in Texas.
(Digital Fox News)

On Friday, it was announced that Abbott would deliver a pre-recorded video message to convention attendees and travel to Uvalde instead. Patrick announced on Friday that he would not be speaking at the convention in a bid to “focus on the families” affected by the school shooting.

“Governor Abbott will make remarks via pre-recorded video at the NRA conference,” Abbott’s campaign spokesman Mark Miner said in a statement Friday. “He will go to Uvalde today.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks during a press conference in Uvalde, Texas on Wednesday, May 25, 2022.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks during a press conference in Uvalde, Texas on Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
(AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

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Despite numerous withdrawals from the event, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and former President Trump said they would continue to deliver remarks at the convention.

In addition to political leaders addressing the event, the convention also features 14 acres of the latest weapons and equipment from gun manufacturers, seminars ranging from concealed carry to the best way gun owners may interact with law enforcement, and other gun safety related events.

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