NRA Convention in Houston: This is what you need to know, from high-profile speakers to security measures

The National Rifle Association begins its annual convention in Houston on Friday, and leaders of the powerful gun-rights lobbying group are gearing up to “reflect on” — and deflect any blame for — the deadly shooting earlier this week of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

HOUSTON – The 2022 NRA Convention will be held in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center from May 27-29.

What is the event?

The event is the annual gathering of the National Rifle Association of America.

The National Rifle Association’s website describes the event this way: “Join fellow Second Amendment patriots for a freedom-filled weekend for the entire family as we celebrate Freedom, Firearms, and the Second Amendment!”

Here’s a video promoting the event.

The Exhibit Hall is open all three days and will showcase guns and gear.

Who can attend?

Only NRA members are welcome to attend the annual event.

Wayne LaPierre, CEO and executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, shared this letter on a YouTube message about the event: “Dear NRA member, This is truly a historic celebration to mark more than a century and half of protecting and defending our nation’s greatest freedoms. All of you here, and the many millions of NRA members across the nation, are the reason the NRA can proudly call itself the nation’s oldest and most successful civil rights organization. It is because of your values, your tenacity, and your unyielding commitment that our Second Amendment remains strong. As you enjoy this celebration, renew your commitment to defending freedom. Because, as we all know, our work is not over — nor will it ever be. Because we are freedom’s most potent army, our opposition is determined to cancel us. Over the years we’ve fought the hard fights when no one else was able to. We’ve spoken the hard truths when no one else dared utter them. We’ve defended, secured, and won back lost freedoms. We’ve spent 150 years leading the charge in Second Amendment advocacy and firearms training and safety. And, we do it all together. Words cannot express my gratitude for all you do. So, let’s renew our commitment to meet the new challenges ahead of us. The fight for our freedom. The fight for our way of life. The fight for our constitutional rights. I have never been more proud and more committed to be fighting by your side. Remember, when we ALL stand for FREEDOM …WE WIN. Thank you! Wayne”

RELATED: ‘Horrific and evil crime’: NRA says organization will reflect on mass shootings ahead of annual meeting in Houston

Who is speaking?

Former President Donald Trump will speak on Friday at the 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. session in the General Assembly Hall at the GRB. In addition to Trump, Wayne LaPierre, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are slated to speak. Sen. John Cornyn, and U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, of Texas, were also slated to speak, but as NBC News reported, the prominent Texas Republicans have backed out for reasons they said are unrelated to the shooting at Robb Elementary School. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will no longer make an in-person appearance at the NRA convention in Houston Friday due to him being scheduled to hold a news conference in Uvalde. See the full list of speakers here. KPRC 2 is working to stream the speakers as their speeches become available. Read more on the speakers here.

What about security?

With Trump will be speaking at the event, the U.S. Secret Service will take control of the General Assembly Hall and have magnetometers in place before entry. Attendees will be subject to a search of your person and belongings. Per the U.S. Secret Service, firearms, firearm accessories, knives, and other items will not be permitted in the General Assembly Hall. For a full list of prohibited items, please go here. Read the list of prohibited items carefully before traveling to the event. You will not be allowed in the General Assembly Hall with any of the items on this list.

Attendees are prohibited from bringing “firearms, firearm accessories, knives, and other items,” including backpacks and selfie sticks, CNN also noted.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said the department is “properly staffed” for the convention.

What will traffic look like around the GRB?

There will be no street closures around the George R. Brown Convention Center. In a news conference Thursday, authorities did allude to areas that would be barricaded for demonstrations. Finner said the protest zone would be at Discovery Green in the stage area.

Here is a map of the area provided Friday by the Houston Police Department.

This map provided by Houston police shows where people can demonstrate outside the George R. Brown Convention Center. (Houston Police Department)

What about the weather?

Houston Fire Department Chief Sam Pena noted that it’s going to be hot outside this weekend so you need to make sure you’re hydrated whether you’re attending the event or not.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.