In response to Tuesday's (May 24) massacre in Texas, various lawmakers and musicians who planned to attend the 2022 National Rifle Association (NRA) conference in Houston have backed out, per CNN.
On Friday (May 27), the NRA will kick off its annual meeting amid gun control scrutiny following the shooting that killed 21 at Robb Elementary. While many NRA members including former President Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, North Carolina Lt. Governor Mark Robinson, and more are still attending the Houston conference, other notable conservatives have declined to participate.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was set to speak at the NRA event but the Republican canceled his in-person appearance to attend a news conference in Uvalde, where fourth-graders and their teachers were slain by suspected gunman Salvador Ramos. However, Abbott will still make his presence known at the meeting "through prerecorded video," his spokesperson said.
Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said that "after prayerful consideration and discussion with NRA officials," he would not be attending this year's convention.
"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 the families and all those suffering in Uvalde," Patrick said on Friday.
According to CNN, Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw and Texas Senator John Cornyn also backed out of the NRA convention but didn't say whether the fatal school shooting swayed their decision.
Musicians Don McLean, Lee Greenwood, Larry Gatlin, and Larry Stewart canceled their scheduled performances at the meeting in light of the young lives lost to gun violence.
"I just did not believe it was the right thing to do," Gatlin told CNN. "It would have been kind of a classy move on the NRA's part, and they need some good PR right now, if they'd cancel the whole thing and said, 'Hey, we're going to go in here for one big moment and say a prayer for those folks or have a moment of silence, and we'll come back and do this later. We can always have our big convention.'"
Gatlin said he remains supportive of the NRA and the Second Amendment, but he "didn't think it was a good time to go down to Houston and have a party."