July 1, 2022



Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick cancel appearances at Houston NRA convention this weekend

3 min read

Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have both canceled appearances at the National Rifle Association convention in Houston this weekend after facing criticism for continuing with plans to speak at the event in the wake of the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

Patrick had planned to speak at a breakfast Friday morning, but released a statement saying that “after prayerful consideration and discussion with NRA officials” he had decided against it. “While a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and an NRA member, I would not want my appearance today to bring any additional pain or grief to families and all those suffering in Uvalde,” the statement reads.

Abbott also canceled his in-person appearance, which was set for Friday afternoon, but will send prerecorded video remarks, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Cayla Harris. He instead plans to travel to Uvalde for a press conference focused on “state resources available to those impacted” by the shooting.

The Republican leader was previously evasive when asked whether he would keep his plans to speak at the NRA convention Friday alongside former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and others, saying at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, “As far as future plans are concerned, listen, I’m living moment to moment right now.” 

Sen. Ted Cruz and former President Donald Trump are still scheduled to speak.

Abbott and Patrick are only the latest in a string of cancelations for the event, which will be held Friday to Sunday at the George R. Brown Convention Center downtown. Daniel Defense, the gun manufacturer that produced the AR-15-style assault rifle used by the shooter, planned to be an exhibitor at the convention but dropped off the schedule on Thursday, in addition to shutting down its social media accounts. 

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Several musicians who planned to play at the convention’s Saturday night “Grand Ole Night Of Freedom” concert pulled out on Thursday, including “American Pie” singer Don McLean, who was the first to announce he would cancel. 

“In light of the recent events in Texas, I have decided it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA at their convention in Houston this week,” McLean said in a statement.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is facing calls to call off the event altogether but said Wednesday that the city “simply cannot cancel.” At a Thursday afternoon press conference where he outlined the city’s safety plan for the event, he urged the NRA to postpone the convention for “a week or two.”

A group of organizations, including Black Lives Matter Houston and the Harris County Democratic Party, will hold a protest near the convention center at Discovery Green at noon on Friday. Democratic candidate for governor Beto O’Rourke, who interrupted Abbott’s press conference on Wednesday in Uvalde to condemn the governor’s stance on gun control and was quickly escorted out, plans to attend the Houston demonstration.

This story was updated Friday morning to add that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has also canceled his appearance at the NRA.

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