HOUSTON — Three musical acts and a prominent firearms manufacturer have canceled their scheduled attendance at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston over Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers.
“American Pie” folk singer Don McLean released a statement about his intention to withdraw his act from the NRA meeting this weekend.
“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,” Mr. McLean said in a statement Thursday to USA Today. “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.”
Country music singer Larry Gatlin also released a statement about his intention to skip the convention.
“While I agree with most of the positions held by the NRA,” Mr. Gatlin said in a statement to the same paper. “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.”
He later recorded a video after many of his fans criticized him for canceling his performance and released it on Twitter, saying his move did not reflect political disagreement with the NRA.
“I believe that we have the right to protect ourselves. I believe in the Second Amendment. I did not refuse to go sing at the NRA because I disagree with them on very many things. I agree with most of what they say,” he said. “I decided to do it out of respect for those people in my beloved Texas down in the Uvalde. And I’m saying prayers for them.”
Gospel singer Larry Stewart also announced Thursday on Twitter that he would not perform at the NRA annual confab.
“Due to the tragedy in Uvalde with the horrific school shooting and children who died, I want to honor the victims, families, the town and our friends in the great state of Texas the best I know how. So I have made the decision to pull out as a performer for the NRA convention this weekend,” Mr. Stewart said.
It is not just music acts that have withdrawn from the event; firearms maker Daniel Defense will no longer participate in the annual meeting.
The gunmaker made its Twitter account private after it was discovered the account posted an ad photo of a young child holding one of its semi-automatic rifles days before one of its firearms was used by the gunman at Robb Elementary School.
The image, which shows the boy holding the rifle on his lap, has the caption: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
The NRA did not respond to a request for comment from The Washington Times.