If former President Donald Trump will be present at this high mass of the NRA, the Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has planned to stop going there. Instead, he will give a press conference in Uvalde on Friday afternoon.

Mr. Abott, a great defender of the right to own a firearm and candidate for re-election this year, will still speak to members of the NRA, in a pre-recorded video, said one of his spokespersons. at the Dallas Morning News.

His deputy, Dan Patrick, will also not show up to avoid “adding more pain to the families,” he said in a statement.

The long-planned NRA convention comes just after an 18-year-old opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday, killing 19 children and two female teachers, and once again plunging the America in the nightmare of school shootings.

A sign of discomfort, several country stars have also chosen not to come. Among them, singer Don McLean, known for his song “American Pie”, who considered it would be “disrespectful” for him to perform there.

Artist Lee Greenwood, whose patriotic hit “God Bless the USA” punctuates Donald Trump’s meetings, also preferred to cancel his concert.

Another notable absentee was the maker of the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle used by the shooter.

But the influential conservative state senator, Ted Cruz, will be present, as will Mr. Trump, who received tens of millions of dollars from the NRA during his two presidential campaigns.

The NRA, which claims 5 million members, has also specified that because of the speech of the former head of state and to ensure his safety, firearms would be prohibited in the room.

– “Pray for the victims” –

According to the powerful lobby, participants in the big meeting will “reflect” on what happened in Uvalde, and “pray for the victims”. The NRA, attacked by Joe Biden, had cleared itself of all responsibility for the killing, denouncing “the act of an isolated and disturbed criminal”.

Outside the building, opponents have planned to demonstrate. Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who will face Greg Abbott in the gubernatorial election in November, will be there.

In an unusual scene, a sign of growing tension over the issue of weapons, he interrupted the governor on Wednesday, in the middle of a press conference, accusing him of being responsible for the tragedy.

The way the police handled the situation was also criticized.

According to a video and numerous testimonies, parents waited outside the school without the police, who were present, intervening, while the shooter, Salvador Ramos, was in the classroom.

“One of the relatives said: I was military, just give me a gun, I will go. I will not hesitate. I will go,” Daniel Myers, a pastor, told AFP. 72 year old who was outside the school.

Border Police units entered about an hour after the teenager entered the building and killed him.

Contrary to what had been said, Salvador Ramos, who shot his grandmother before going to school, did not face any police before entering.

– ‘New Sandy Hook’ –

The shooting, described in the American press as the “new Sandy Hook”, in reference to the appalling massacre at a Connecticut elementary school in 2012, has awakened the traumas of America.

The faces of the very young victims, aged 11, 10, 9 and years, broadcast repeatedly on television, and the testimonies of their collapsed relatives have moved the country, relaunching a wave of calls for better regulation of firearms.

Compulsory passage after each major shooting, this movement has little chance of leading to action, given the lack of hope of Congress adopting an ambitious national law on the issue.

President Joe Biden will travel to Uvalde on Sunday with his wife Jill Biden, to “share the mourning” of the inhabitants of this small town upset by one of the worst massacres by firearm in recent years in the country.