Former US President Donald Trump will deliver the headline speech at the National Rifle Association’s convention in Texas today.
With the state still reeling from the Uvalde school shooting a number of high profile political figures have dropped out of the pro-gun group’s rally - including Governor Greg Abbott.
Governor Abbott instead sent a pre-recorded message but Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick was upfront that he thought his attendance risked upsetting the bereaved:
“I would not want my appearance today to bring any additional pain or grief to the families and all those suffering in Uvalde,” he said in a press release.
However, Mr Trump - who was endorsed by the NRA in both the 2016 and 2020 Presidential elections - said it was an “interesting time to be making such a speech.”
“You have to give that Second Amendment great protection because, without it, we would be a very dangerous country, frankly,” he said.
🇺🇸 Just a few days left until President Trump speaks at NRA’s Annual Meeting for the 6th time!
Hear from Trump this Friday, May 27, 2PM in Houston, TX! Visit https://t.co/76lbF2FHBr for more info! pic.twitter.com/HmKCshDwKn
— NRA (@NRA) May 24, 2022
Some have questioned whether the former President attending the convention so soon after a massacre but Sarah Elliott, spokeswoman for Republicans Overseas UK, told Newstalk said it was a perfectly appropriate thing to do:
“Why not?” she queried on The Hard Shoulder.
“It’s a perfectly legal convention. It’s a group of people who believe in the Second Amendment as does former President Donald Trump.”
Listen and subscribe to The Hard Shoulder on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.
Who are the NRA?
The NRA was founded in 1871 to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis". It is one of the most powerful pressure groups in the world and in 2020 it had a budget of $250m.
It believes that America would be a safer country with more guns and its CEO Wayne LaPeierre once said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.”
In red state America it wields a huge amount of political clout and writes large cheques to those who promise to stand up for the right to bear arms.
It is openly loathed by many Democrats who say the group is responsible for foiling sensible measures that could reduce gun violence.
On Wednesday President Biden did not mention them by name but he might as well have when he asked, “When in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?"
It is a question many Americans have been asking for years.
Main image: President Donald Trump speaks at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci