For members of the gun lobby arriving at their national convention, there is nothing strange or awkward about the timing of this event as there is, according to them, no correlation between the shootings of mace and firearms.
“Guns don’t come up and kill people. People do that,” one woman told me.
“He managed to buy a gun,” I told another visitor, referring to the shooter of the Uvalde school.
“It’s true – legally,” he said.
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“…and walk into a school and kill 19 kids,” I said.
“The school was negligent. They shouldn’t have left the doors open. He walked through an open door…” the man replied.
“Should gun laws be toughened?” I asked another member of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“No. What they have to do is enforce the ones they have. They’re not doing their job. They’re letting these people slip through the cracks. That’s the problem,” he said. declared.
“Suppressing their right to self-defense is not the solution”
Inside the George R Brown Convention Center, thousands of NRA delegates gathered for the keynote address from their General Manager Wayne Lapierre.
He addressed the school in Uvalde firing from the get-go, but rejected any attempts to restrict gun ownership.
“We, the NRA, will never stop fighting for the innocent and the law-abiding to defend against the evil criminal element that plagues our society because we know there can be no freedom, no security. , no security without the right of the law – accepting to bear arms to defend oneself.
“Taking away their right to self-defense is not the solution. But there are some common sense things we can and should do…” Mr Lapierre said.
“We must protect our schools because our children deserve at least and in fact more protection than our banks, stadiums and government buildings.”
He quoted former President Ronald Reagan, saying, “We must reject the idea that whenever a law is broken, society is at fault, rather than the offender.”
The guest of honor was former President Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump reportedly did not see the anti-gun protests outside. The crowd was large, loud and passionate.
“Everyone in that building over there is an accomplice”
Among them was Leah Samuels, a 17-year-old student, who told me she was scared in her classroom every day.
“Everyone in that building over there is an accomplice,” she told me, pointing to the convention center.
“If you’re not actively doing something to fix the problem, you’re part of the problem. Honestly, I’m absolutely disgusted, I’m a student – it could so easily have been me. It’s horrifying,” he said. she declared.
Among the crowd there was a sense that despite the lack of change after so many mass shootings, this time things might be different. But more than that; they say change could start in Texas.
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The central cry was that Republican politicians, who are in the pockets of gun lobby groups, must be removed from power.
The featured guest was Democratic candidate for Texas governor, former presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke.
“We are committed to it and we are going to act. We are going to break through now. Everyone here is committed to it,” he told me.
But against all this optimism, there is a harsh reality.
America is such a deeply divided society right now; more entrenched than it has been for decades. If nothing changed when the country was less divided, how is it really possible now?
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