Amid another national debate about how to respond to mass shootings after a massacre at a Florida high school last week, a top official in Dallas has asked the National Riffle Association to “reconsider coming to Dallas” for its annual exhibition and convention in May.
Dwaine Caraway, the mayor pro tem in Dallas, said that while he is a “believer in the Second Amendment” and is the owner of five guns, he doesn’t want the event in Dallas and said it would likely be met with protest. He asked the organization to come together with lawmakers to “address this madness,” according to a video of the press conference, published by ABC News affiliate ABC13.
“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 said during the press conference. “At the end of the day, we need to connect the dots. The NRA needs to step up to the plate, and they need to show leadership. We should not allow people to possess assault rifles and weapons.”
He applauded the students who survived the high school shooting and are speaking out about gun control policy, despite having to “live with these nightmares the rest of their life.”
“If you are ever confronted with a gun of any kind, the AR-15 or just a gun, that is something that you will remember for the rest of your life and these 14, 15 year-old kids, their lives are in tragic shatters,” he said. “While we are worrying about terrorists, we’re living in a terrorist society amongst us Americans today.”
Caraway is just the latest public official to call out the NRA, and the conservative politicians the organization supports, following the shooting at a Florida high school last Wednesday that left 17 people dead. In the aftermath of the attack, Democrats immediately began calling for gun control measures, while Republicans asked for patience until the facts of the attack were known.
The teens who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been advocating for reform since the attack, with a busload of teens heading to the Florida state legislature Tuesday to meet with lawmakers about gun control policy.
The NRA is frequently criticized in the aftermath of mass shootings, as the organization is known for funding and awarding ratings to politicians who support legislation that favors gun owners’ rights.
The 147th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits is scheduled to take place at a Dallas convention center from May 4-6, according to the organization’s website. A spokesperson for the NRA did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.