Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to appear at a National Rifle Association convention in Texas in early May, and to help ensure his safety, the NRA is laying down a ground rule that has many of its critics crying foul.
The NRA said it’s banning guns on the premises prior to and during his speech, despite the organization’s broader insistence that adding more guns to an environment makes things safer. According to the NRA’s official web page for the event, firearms―along with other weapons, like knives―will not be allowed while Pence is in attendance.
“Due to the attendance of the Vice President of the United States, the U.S. Secret Service will be responsible for event security at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum,” the site says. “As a result, firearms and firearm accessories, knives or weapons of any kind will be prohibited in the forum prior to and during his attendance.”
This news is stirring up controversy, owing in large part to the NRA’s almost universal resistance to gun bans and “gun-free zones” and NRA vice president Wayne LaPierre’s regular praising of so-called “good guys with guns.” In particular, many of the student activist survivors of the Parkland shooting reacted to the news with disbelief and condemnation, including Matt Deitsch and Cameron Kasky.
The NRA has evolved into such a hilarious parody of itself. pic.twitter.com/6Pw6NTQAe6
— Cam Kasky (@cameron_kasky) April 28, 2018
Wait wait wait wait wait wait you’re telling me to make the VP safe there aren’t any weapons around but when it comes to children they want guns everywhere? Can someone explain this to me? Because it sounds like the NRA wants to protect people who help them sell guns, not kids.
— Matt Deitsch (@MattxRed) April 28, 2018
Pence will be addressing the Dallas conference on May 4. As is common whenever the vice president is giving a speech or making a public appearance, he’ll be guarded by members of the U.S. Secret Service. In the past, NRA representatives, including LaPierre, have regularly insisted that gun-free zones are dangerous, as they provide “soft targets” for mass shooters.