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Beto O'Rourke calls for gun violence solutions outside of NRA meeting

O'Rourke was part of the protests on Discovery Green as NRA members and speakers gathered inside the George R. Brown Convention Center.

HOUSTON — Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke joined hundreds of people outside the annual NRA Convention on Friday in downtown Houston.

O'Rourke was part of the protests on Discovery Green as Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, pulled out of speaking live at the event inside. Abbott spent the afternoon in Uvalde at an event highlighting state resources available for victims of Tuesday's school massacre at an elementary school. A video message from Abbott was played for NRA attendees.

“To those who are attending the NRA convention across the street, you are not our enemies," O'Rourke said. "We are not yours. We extend our arms open and unarmed in a gesture of peace and fellowship to welcome you to join us to make sure this no longer happens in this country."

RELATED: 'Guns are not evil:' NRA convention kicks off in Houston days after Uvalde massacre

Beto did not mention Abbott by name during his short address to supporters. 

“To the leadership of the NRA, and to those politicians you have purchased, to those men and women in positions of power who care more about your power, than using that power to save the lives of those that you are supposed to serve, if you have done anything good," O'Rourke said. "It is the fact that you have brought us here together because we are committing ourselves to act. We will defeat you and we will overcome you."

O'rouke's appearance in Houston comes after he interrupted a press conference in Uvalde earlier this week and was escorted out of the auditorium.

"You are doing nothing," O'Rourke said to Abbott on Wednesday. "This is totally predictable. You're all doing nothing."

RELATED: NRA convention underway in Houston, days after mass shooting in Uvalde

The outburst came shortly after Abbott spoke about the importance of mental health evaluations and treatment in the wake of such tragedies. 

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