DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Both the President and Vice President of the United States will arrive in Dallas and be gone before rush hour. Donald Trump and Mike Pence are both guest speakers at the National Rifle Association’s national meeting happening in downtown Dallas.
In addition to hosting an expected 80,000 gun enthusiasts, the NRA convention is the setting for a number of protests, marches and prayer vigils denouncing gun violence and promoting gun control.
Friday morning student members of Texas Gun Sense, a statewide group that educates and lobbies for common sense gun reforms, held a press conference at Dallas City Hall with gun violence survivors, faith leaders and community members.
“There are many things that both sides kind of agree on, but we can’t sit down at the table and actually hammer anything out because the gun issue is so polarizing,” said Texas Gun Sense spokesperson Ed Scruggs.
Student protestor Azhalia Leal said they’re looking for people to more than just show up and march. “We’re not just asking students to come show their support to protest,” she said. “We’re asking them to start creating a culture of connecting with their elected officials.”
On Thursday the group Faith Forward Dallas held a prayer vigil to mark the deaths of Texans killed by gun violence last year.
CBS 11 News spoke with a couple who plans to march on Saturday to honor their nephew, who was one of the four people killed in a shooting at a Nashville Waffle House restaurant. “Enough is enough already, “ said Michael Sauceda. “These AR-15s need to be off the streets. My nephew was 20, he had his whole life ahead of him.”
Many NRA members attending this weekend’s convention say they not only support the 2nd Amendment but also the right for opponents to protest peacefully.
A number of protests are planned before the convention ends Sunday. This evening the Next Generation Action Network will hold a protest and march against the gun lobby and Faith Forward Dallas is holding a prayer service to pray for the end of gun violence.
On Saturday actress and activist Alyssa Milano and some relatives and survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida will take part on the NoRA Protest at Belo Garden Park in downtown Dallas.
The groups Rally 4 Reform, Dallas Untied Against Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America will also have protests on Saturday.
There will be at least one counter-protest held during the NRA convention. The rally, organized by the North Texas Patriots for Liberty, Open Carry Texas and other groups, will happen at noon Saturday outside Dallas City Hall.