'Allow families to bury their children': Mayor Turner urges NRA meeting in Houston be postponed

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Mayor Sylvester Turner explained that a legally-binding contract prevents the city from canceling the National Rifle Association's annual conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center this weekend. Several groups plan to protest.

With a potential clashing of protesters and gun advocates in downtown, Houston city leaders are expected to lay out security plans to the public Thursday afternoon. A news conference is streaming now in the video player above.

The convention center opened its doors at 2 p.m. Thursday when on-site registration begins.

Several groups, including former President Donald Trump, with different agendas are expected outside the GRB center starting on Friday.



SEE ALSO: Here's what to know about NRA's meeting in Houston

Trump confirmed his appearance, saying he will share an important message to America and that he is praying for the victims of the mass shooting in Uvalde.

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Groups plan to protest the National Rife Association's meeting at the George R. Brown Center this weekend, following the fatal Uvalde school shooting.



"What I would say to the NRA, even though the city cannot cancel a contract because we don't agree with their position on guns, the NRA can postpone it a week or two to allow the families to bury their children," said Turner.

Just three days after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, the city of Houston is expected to host the annual conference which will feature 14 acres of guns and gear.

"The coincidence. The timing was tragic and awful," said Megan Hansen.

Hansen and a friend decided they had to do something. They organized an interfaith protest for Friday afternoon at around 1 p.m.

"We just think it's really important to bring the witness to the people gathering in that space and say we need to change our policies on guns and gun control in this country," Hansen said. "The NRA is a big part of it. So, we want to go directly to the people who are members and who are speaking and who are politicians."

Their protest will be a silent one, involving a couple hundred people in reflection and prayer.

SEE RELATED STORY: How Houston can help Robb Elementary School shooting victims in Uvalde

At the same time, there will be a more vocal rally for justice organized by several activists groups and the Harris County Democratic Party.

The Houston Police Department said there are plans in place for a tactical operation to keep protesters and an expected crowd of up to 80,000 NRA members safe. Weeks ahead of the event, the union said they were told vacation time during the conference would be limited.

Gov. Greg Abbott was asked whether he would still speak at the NRA convention during a news conference in Uvalde.

WATCH: Beto O'Rourke interrupts Texas governor's press conference on shooting
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WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate O'Rourke verbally confronted Gov. Abbott at a news conference about the Uvalde school shooting.



"As far as future plans are concerned, listen, I'm living moment to moment right now," Abbott said.

Sen. Ted Cruz has not responded to questions from ABC13.

Congressman Dan Crenshaw and Sen. John Cornyn both pulled out a few days ago, before the Uvalde shooting. Crenshaw is in Ukraine and Cornyn has a scheduling conflict.

"Clearly the guns are the problem, and we need less of them," said Hansen.

The NRA convention runs through Sunday.

SEE RELATED STORY: Mass shootings in the U.S. have nearly tripled since 2013, Gun Violence Archive data shows

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