- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 25, 2022

A former high-ranking Army officer who House Speaker Nancy Pelosi commissioned to lead the security review at the U.S. Capitol after the 2021 riot has called for a “major protest” at the National Rifle Association‘s annual meeting this week in Houston.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré tweeted late Tuesday night, “We need a major protest to close down the @NRA convention this weekend.”

He tagged several news outlets and several Republicans: former Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. 

He also wrote: “The NRA has blood on its hands” [and if] “Senate Republicans will not stand up to them then the people of #Texas should.” He tagged Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott, a Republican, in the tweet.

Massive protests are expected at the NRA gathering after the shooting Tuesday at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two adults dead.

The Uvalde massacre ranks as one of the worst school shootings since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, almost 10 years ago.

Gun control activists are encouraging demonstrations in downtown Houston at the site of the NRA‘s annual gathering where former President Donald Trump is scheduled to deliver remarks on Friday.

Other Republican speakers scheduled for the NRA event include Mr. Abbott, Mr. Cruz, Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

The Washington Times reached out to the NRA for comment and did not immediately hear back.

It is not the first time the most prominent Second Amendment advocacy group’s meeting coincidentally was scheduled in the same state where a school shooting happened just days before the event.

The 1999 NRA meeting was scheduled for 3 days, starting May 1 in Denver at the Adams-Mark Hotel, 11 days after two teens opened fire on their classmates at Columbine High School in the city’s suburb of Littleton. The shooters killed 13 and injured over 20; both gunmen turned their guns on themselves and committed suicide.

At that NRA meeting, Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and other officials asked the NRA to cancel the event because of its proximity to the scene of the mass shooting.

While the organization refused to cancel, the NRA cut back the annual event from three days to one day and canceled a planned firearms show. 

Three thousand protesters demonstrated at the Denver event that year.

“This is our country,” then-NRA President Charlton Heston said in opening remarks at the meeting. “We’re free to travel wherever we want in our broad land.”

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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