May 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Teachers unions plan to protest NRA convention

National Rife Association headquarters.
The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) headquarters in Fairfax, Va. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Leaders of the nation’s two largest teachers unions will travel to Houston to push gun safety on the same day as the National Rifle Association's upcoming convention.

Driving the news: Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, will speak on gun safety on May 27 as thousands of gun owners descend on Houston for the NRA's annual convention. The announcement follows Tuesday's mass shooting at a Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which left at least 21 people dead, including 19 children and two adults.

  • State of play: Pringle and Weingarten "will highlight the NRA’s negligence" and discuss how to keep communities and schools safe, the American Federation of Teachers said in a press release sent to Axios.
  • Two teachers who survived school shootings in the Parkland and Sandy Hook shootings will be in attendance.
  • Other attendees include Anna King, the national PTA president, as well as Jackie Anderson, the president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, and Ovidia Molina, the president of the Texas State Teachers Association.
  • It's unclear where the pair of top union officials will speak. The New York Times first reported the story.

The big picture: Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Fox News on Wednesday that the solution to gun violence may be arming teachers, per KXAN.

  • “We can’t stop bad people from doing bad things. We can potentially arm and prepare and train teachers and other administrators to respond quickly. That, in my opinion, is the best answer,” Paxton said.

Pringle, the National Education Association president, rejected the call to arm teachers in a statement issued earlier this week.

  • "We need fewer guns in schools, not more. Teachers should be teaching, not acting as armed security guards," she said.
  • "Arming teachers makes schools more dangerous."

The other side: The NRA said in a statement Wednesday it still intended to hold its annual meeting in Houston despite the mass school shooting in Uvalde.

  • "Our deepest sympathies are with the families and victims involved in this horrific and evil crime," the NRA said. "On behalf of our members, we salute the courage of school officials, first responders and others who offered their support and services."
  • Former President Trump, who is slated to speak at the convention, also confirmed in a statement Wednesday that he was still planning on attending. It will mark his sixth time speaking at the event.
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