National Rifle Association asked not to hold meeting in Dallas after Florida shooting

The mayor pro tem says the NRA 'needs to step up to the plate, and they need to show leadership' 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Tuesday 20 February 2018 22:55 GMT
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A city of Dallas official has asked the National Rifle Association to hold its upcoming meeting elsewhere in light of the Parkland, Florida school shooting.
A city of Dallas official has asked the National Rifle Association to hold its upcoming meeting elsewhere in light of the Parkland, Florida school shooting. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

A Dallas, Texas, city official has asked that the National Rifle Association (NRA) not hold its upcoming members meeting in the city.

The gun owners membership association, which is a powerful lobby in the US Congress, has come under heat in light of the recent Parkland, Florida school shooting where a gunman killed 14 children and three adults.

Dwaine Caraway, the Mayor pro tem of Dallas, said it was "a tough call" but if the NRA goes ahead and hold the 4-6 May meeting, it would be met with "marches and demonstrations".

He said that though the city could lose approximately $40m if the organisation moved the meeting elsewhere, his request was done to put "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".

"The NRA needs to step up to the plate, and they need to show leadership," Mr Caraway said, adding that it was time to "connect the dots".

He said he was "saddened" at the sheer number of gun violence incidents in the country.

In July 2016, Dallas experienced a shooting during which five police officers were killed, nine officers and two citizens were injured. The gunman, Micah Xavier Johnson, had shot at officers after a protest against the spate of police-involved shooting deaths of young black men like Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana.

John Oliver pays tribute to students of Florida shooting fighting for gun control

"We should not allow people to possess assault rifles and weapons. While we are worrying about terrorists, we're living in a terrorist society amongst us Americans today," Mr Caraway said.

According to the NRA website, the 147th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits would draw an estimated 80,000 people.

The organisation has held its meeting in Texas before, with Houston hosting it in 2013.

"No politician anywhere can tell the NRA not to come to their city," said Andrew Arulanandam, NRA Managing Director for Public Affairs, said in a statement to a local ABC News affiliate.

We are already there. Dallas, like every American city and community, is populated by NRA members. Our members work in fire stations and police departments. They save lives in local hospitals and own businesses in communities urban and rural throughout this country," he said.

The organisation has not yet responded to a request for further comment on the matter.

But, Mr Caraway's sentiments are not shared by all members of the City Council.

Council Member Jennifer Staubach Gates told the local news station that the group is "constitutionally protected" to use the public building for its meeting, adding that the city "can’t be in the business to censor who uses that building.”

Part of the annual meeting would involve the legal sale of weapons to attendees, possibly including assault-style rifles like the AR-15 which Nikolas Cruz allegedly used at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Several students from the school have appeared on camera and taken to social media to directly confront Florida and US Congress politicians to advocate for gun control reform legislation.

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