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What to Expect from Gun-Control Advocates During NRA Convention
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2 May 2018 05:59 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Wayne LaPierre (Image Source: Michael Vadon)


The National Rifle Association is gearing up for their national convention this week, and it happens to come at a very contentious time for them. Not only are they facing extreme pressure over mass shootings, but there is also a belief that they have received money from Russia to help with Donald Trump's campaign in 2016. 

And as if those two issues weren't enough, the NRA have also decided to ban their own guns during the convention to keep guest Mike Pence safe. This has placed the group in the crosshairs, as they refuse to support banning guns anywhere else, specifically schools. 

This was after the NRA's leader charged that gun control advocates and the media "don't care about our schoolchildren." He added, "They want to make all of us less free." Gun control advocates could easily answer back that the NRA wants to make all of us less safe.

More than 70,000 people are expected to attend what NRA spokesman Jason Brown refers to as "the premiere Second Amendment celebration in the United States." It begins on Friday at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. It will be attended by many of the country's major firearm companies and will also offer training and advocacy events, concerts, and the annual membership meeting.

After a deadly high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the surviving students have been calling for stricter gun control laws and have held marches across the country. They will, of course, be out in force at the convention, even holding a "die-in," especially with the Vice President and President attending. 

Manuel Oliver lost his 17-year-old son Joaquin in the Parkland shooting. He's planning to erect a mural honoring him in Dallas and will join other protesters at the convention. "He decided to be in the wrong room with the wrong audience, especially if he's looking for votes and support," he said of Donald Trump.

Oliver is not in the minority with his feelings on the need for tighter gun-control laws. Nearly two-thirds of the country who are under 30 years old and planning to vote this November believe the laws should be stricter, according to a Harvard poll.

But there's another issue as well as gun control. They will also be pressing questions about Russia's influence on the NRA, specifically with donations that the group is thought to have accepted from the Kremlin in order to help finance a win for Trump.

This is in reference to Russian politician Alexander Torshin who created relationships with NRA leaders and documented his efforts to do so, all in an attempt to get access to American politics.

The FBI is looking into whether as the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, Torshin illegally ran money to the NRA to help Trump's campaign. He admitted in 2015 to knowing Trump through the NRA. The NRA has denied doing anything wrong and has said Torshin is the subject of the investigation, not the NRA. 

It was at the 2016 NRA convention where Torshin reportedly met up with Donald Trump Jr. This was amongst rumors that he was trying to speak with the senior Trump but that Jared Kushner advised against it. The House intelligence committee Republicans have found no evidence that the election was discussed between Torshin and Trump Jr.  

The gun-control group Everytown for Gun Safety plans to cover the homepage of the Dallas Morning News with ads regarding the links between the NRA and Russia starting on Thursday. There will also be four mobile truck billboards circling the convention center. 

These billboards will ask in both Russian and English, "How much money have you taken from Russia?" and "Why have you cozied up to Vladimir Putin's Kremlin?"

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