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Here is everyone who has—and hasn’t—pulled out of this weekend’s NRA convention in Houston

May 27, 2022, 5:34 PM UTC

The National Rifle Association’s annual convention is happening as scheduled this weekend in Houston—just a four hour drive from Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, where 19 students and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting on Tuesday.

The convention, beginning today at the George R. Brown Convention Center, originally featured a who’s who line-up of Republican politicians, conservative musicians, and NRA leaders. 

In the wake of Tuesday’s shooting—which came just 10 days after another mass shooting that killed 10 people in a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, NY—a number of speakers have canceled their planned appearances, but still others have reaffirmed their commitment to the event.

Here’s a list of everyone who has (and hasn’t) pulled out of the NRA’s Leadership Forum event so far.

Texas Governor Abbott will appear virtually

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced on Thursday that he will no longer be appearing at the convention in person, opting instead to deliver a pre-recorded speech for the event.

Abbott will hold a news conference in Uvalde Friday afternoon instead of attending the conference in Houston. He is the highest profile Republican to pull out of the event so far.

Other Republicans slated to speak have dropped out in recent days, including Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, who told Fox News on Wednesday that he will not be back in time from a trip to Ukraine.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn also will no longer be speaking at the event, though his office made clear his absence was the result of “personal reasons” and not tied to the shooting in Uvalde.

“Prior to the tragedy today in Uvalde we had already informed the NRA he would not be able to speak due to an unexpected change in his schedule,” Cornyn’s spokesperson said in a statement to Newsweek. “He now has to be in D.C. for personal reasons on Friday.”

Musical guests backing out

Seven musicians were slated to perform Saturday night as part of the NRA’s “Grand Ole Night of Freedom” concert. As of Friday morning, all but one of those performers have backed out in the aftermath of the Uvalde shooting.

That list includes Don McLean, most famous for penning the 1971 hit “American Pie,” as well as Larry Gatlin, Larry Stewart, Danielle Peck, Lee Greenwood, and T. Graham Brown.

“In light of the recent events in Texas, I have decided it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA at their convention in Houston this week,” McLean said in a statement. “I’m sure all the folks planning to attend this event are shocked and sickened by these events as well. After all, we are all Americans. I share the sorrow for this terrible, cruel loss with the rest of the nation.”

Larry Gatlin, of the country group the Gatlin Brothers, took it one step further in his statement, sharing his support for legislation that would require background checks for anyone who wants to purchase a firearm.

“I cannot, in good conscience, perform at the NRA convention in Houston this weekend,” Gatlin said in an Instagram post. “While I agree with most of the positions held by the NRA, I have come to believe that, while background checks would not stop every madman with a gun, it is at the very least a step in the right direction toward trying to prevent the kind of tragedy we saw this week in Uvalde— in my beloved, weeping TEXAS.”

Country singer Jacob Bryant, meanwhile, is the only singer still set to appear at the concert.

Late Thursday, Billboard reported that the concert was canceled altogether as a result of so many musicians dropping out, but the NRA has not confirmed. 

AK manufacturer also withdraws

Daniel Defense, the gun manufacturer of the rifle used in Uvalde shooting, announced Friday it will not be attending the convention, which typically features many gunmakers that want to showcase their products.

“Daniel Defense is not attending the NRA meeting due to the horrifying tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, where one of our products was criminally misused,” said Steve Reed, vice president of marketing for Daniel Defense, in a statement reported by CNN. “We believe this week is not the appropriate time to be promoting our products in Texas at the NRA meeting.”

Following the shooting on Tuesday, the company issued a statement on its website decrying the massacre as “evil.” 

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic events in Texas this week,” the statement read. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and community devastated by this evil act.”

Republican leaders still slated to appear

On Wednesday, former President Donald Trump was quick to confirm his commitment to the event.

“America needs real solutions and real leadership in this moment, not politicians and partisanship,” Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social.

“That’s why I will keep my longtime commitment to speak in Texas at the NRA Convention and deliver an important address to America. In the meantime, we all continue to pray for the victims, their families, and for our entire nation—we are all in this together!”

In the convention center’s General Assembly Hall, where Trump will deliver his address, attendees are prohibited from carrying weapons, including “firearms, firearm accessories, [and] knives,” according to the NRA.

Other Republican leaders still set to speak include Texas Senator Ted Cruz, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and North Carolina Lt. Governor Mark Robinson.

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