Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway asked the powerful gun lobby to find another host city for its annual convention in early May, or it will be “met with opposition” after last week’s deadly school shooting in Florida.
“It is a tough call when you ask the NRA to reconsider coming to Dallas, but it is putting all citizens first, and getting them to come to the table and elected officials to come to the table and to address this madness now,” Caraway, who leads the city council as mayor pro tem, said at a Monday news conference.
“At the end of the day, we need to connect the dots,” continued Caraway, a Democrat whose city saw five police officers killed during a 2016 mass shooting. “The NRA needs to step up to the plate, and they need to show leadership.”
Florida school shooting survivor blames Trump, NRA for massacre
The NRA is slated to host its 147th annual meeting and exhibition at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center from May 4 to 6, according to the group’s website.
An estimated 80,000 people are set to converge on Dallas for the convention, according to reports, where attendees can buy ammunition but not firearms.
Dallas could lose out on about $40 million in economic activity by losing the convention, experts told ABC News.
President Trump addressed the convention in late April 2017, when it was hosted in Atlanta, and promised the “eight-year assault” on gun owners was over.
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“You have a true friend and champion in the White House,” he said.
But on Monday he signaled he was open to strengthening background checks after the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting left 17 students and faculty dead.
Caraway, who represents Dallas’ fourth council district, said he supports the Second Amendment but also wanted tighter rules for assault-style rifles.
“We should not allow people to possess assault rifles and weapons,” he said Monday. “While we are worrying about terrorists, we’re living in a terrorist society amongst us Americans today.”
An NRA spokesman rebuffed Caraway’s calls, saying the NRA would be there no matter what.
“No politician anywhere can tell the NRA not to come to their city,” Andrew Arulanandam of the NRA told local ABC affiliate WFAA. “Dallas, like every American city and community, is populated by NRA members.”
“Our members work in fire stations and police departments,” he continued. “They save lives in local hospitals and own businesses in communities urban and rural throughout this country.”
Jennifer Staubach Gates, another Dallas council member, said the NRA is guaranteed to hold its convention in Dallas, regardless of policy issues.
“They’re constitutionally protected to be in the convention center,” she told WFAA. “It’s a public building. We can’t be in the business to censor who uses that building.”
Students who survived the shooting plan to march on Washington next month against Trump and lawmakers with close ties to the NRA.
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Source: New York Daily News
Featured Image: Getty Images
Inset Image: AP Photo/File