NRA in Houston: Parkland survivor David Hogg challenges some NRA attendees to be allies

Discovery Green played host to the first of what will be many protests against the NRA throughout the weekend of its conference.
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Thousands of Houstonians and notable city and state leaders took a stand Friday afternoon through peaceful protests to get the National Rifle Association convention canceled. They argue that having a conversation about gun laws at an annual convention is insensitive to the recent tragedy in Uvalde involving an elementary school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

The NRA convention has been booked for two years, and up to 80,000 people are expected to attend. Mayor Sylvester Turner expressed that even though he wishes organizers would consider postponing the event, especially in the wake of the massacre, there is nothing the city can do to force a cancelation that wouldn't expose them to legal liability.

"You're talking about 19 of our precious children, and I say that because you don't have to be the biological father or mother," Turner said during Friday afternoon's briefing at city hall. "They are our children. And you know what? They are not Democratic kids, right? They are not Republican kids. They are just kids.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee also supported the convention's cancellation.

"They should cancel it today, tomorrow and the next day. They should tell Donald Trump to stay home," Jackson Lee said.

SEE ALSO: NRA convention in Houston day 1: Who is attending? Who canceled? Where are the protests?

Former President Donald Trump confirmed in a statement he is set to attend the convention and will be speaking Friday afternoon.

Survivors of the Parkland and Sandy Hook shootings were also at the news conference, standing in solidarity.

On Feb. 14, 2018, a former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 students and adults.

A survivor in that shooting, David Hogg, started March For Our Lives, a student-led demonstration in support of gun control legislation. The organization offers support and resources to people and communities impacted by gun violence.

SEE RELATED STORY: Parkland school shooting 3 years later: Remembering victims, from hero coach to college-bound students

"I've done this work for four long years. Four more years than I should have had to because this issue should have ended before I was born. I was born a year after Columbine, and now I'm speaking to you the generation that has been failed frankly," Hogg said.

The same gun that was used in the Parkland shooting has been used in so many other shootings, Hogg noted.

"Our enemy in this fight is not gun owners. Our enemy in this fight isn't even Republicans," said Hogg.

The advocate pointed at gun violence as the enemy in this fight.

Hogg used this platform not to attempt to vote any sole individual or governor out of office, but to ask for allies in gun owners, teachers and students.

"Even if you got rid of one governor, if you still have this system in place that enables somebody to allow our children to die in their schools and communities, it doesn't matter what the name is or what the letter is that's next to them. That system is still there," he said.

Bishop James Dixon called on Gov. Abbott to make an executive order to ban assault weapons. He also suggested that red flag laws be implemented in Texas and throughout the United States.

"As long as we don't have a ban, our leaders should be held accountable. They don't belong to the public," Dixon said.

Thirdly, Dixon called on lawmakers to raise the age of purchasing a gun to 21.

"If you cannot buy liquor, a can of beer at 18, why would you be able to buy a gun at age 18?" Dixon asked.

Under the Gun Control Act, shotguns and rifles, and ammunition for shotguns or rifles may be sold to anyone 18 years of age or older.

Lastly, he urged for universal, thorough background checks.

"This must happen so that we can make sure that people who do have guns deserve to have a gun can be trusted with a gun," Dixon said.

"Let the life of children, and the life of grandmothers, be more important than gun issues," said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers Union, who alluded to the Uvalde gunman shooting his own grandmother before the school rampage.

SEE RELAED STORY: Uvalde school shooting timeline: Salvador Ramos began purchasing weapons 1 week from massacre

A protest organized by several local groups Friday got underway at Discovery Green. Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor who interrupted a Uvalde press conference the day after the shooting, was there.

"We will never forget them. We will never forget Uvalde. The time for us to have stopped Uvalde was right after Sandy Hook. The time for us to have stopped Uvalde was right after Parkland. The time for us to have stopped Uvalde was right after Santa Fe. The time for us to stop the next school mass shooting is right now, here today, with every single one of us," said O'Rourke.
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