DALLAS — Attendees at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Dallas can carry their firearms — except during the forum where President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence speak Friday.
A White House official said Monday that Trump will attend Friday. Pence had already been slated to speak at Friday’s leadership forum.
The NRA posted a notice on its website saying that the arena will be under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Secret Service during the leadership forum. It’s standard for the Secret Service to bar firearms from being carried into places visited by the people they protect, regardless of state laws. Other prohibited items include toy guns and knives, according to the NRA posting.
“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. 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. We will be posting a longer list of prohibited items in the near future,” the announcement reads.
Some students at the Parkland, Florida, high school where 17 people were killed in February criticized the NRA on social media for what they see as hypocrisy.
“It’s ironic that they feel they need to ban guns to protect themselves especially after their main philosophy has been more guns equals more protection yet they don’t think they need to protect our kids in the same way,” said David Hogg, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who has pushed for stricter gun control since the shooting.
The President engaged, and at times encouraged, that debate in the wake of the mass shooting, bringing together survivors and victims’ families as well as lawmakers to discuss potential reforms.
The President at one point floated raising the age of purchase for certain guns to 21 and proposed expanding background checks, including proposals opposed by the NRA. His proposals were met with immediate backlash by pro-gun groups. After meeting with the NRA’s leaders, including its top lobbyist, he ultimately backed only modest proposals that the gun lobby supports.
The NRA spent more than $30 million to help elect Trump in the 2016 presidential election and provided a boon of conservative bona fides at a time when Trump’s candidacy was met with skepticism by many who doubted his conservative credentials.