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Protestors clash outside NRA convention in Houston over gun debate

Law enforcement broke up multiple arguments between opposing sides, including members of the far-right extremist group Proud Boys.

HOUSTON — Protestors returned to Downtown Houston for day two of the NRA convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Law enforcement broke up multiple arguments between opposing sides, including members of the far-right extremist group Proud Boys.

Members of the Proud Boys, which is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, clashed with gun control advocates across the street from the convention at Discovery Green.

RELATED: As US mourns shootings, NRA in turmoil but influence remains

The convention itself brought gun owners together from all over, each with their own reasons to bear arms.

"I was a latecomer to the gun world, probably 45 before I ever bought a gun, engineered by training," said one convention goer. 

"I would rather have a gun in my home versus not. If somebody tries to come in, I can at least defend my family, my kids," said another.

Texas Senate Democrats have called on Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special legislative session over gun control in the wake of a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that left 21 dead. Some people at the convention weighed in on the topic.

“I understand that in the state of Texas guns are very, very protected and very worshiped and valued," said protestor Aaliya Pozo. "And I can respect and I can understand that but at the same time can acknowledge that there is a desperate need for gun control and reform.”

Across the street, NRA convention attendees place the blame on individuals rather than guns themselves.

 “I told my wife, I said I’m sure there will be protestors. But people want to blame the NRA for gun problems - gun violence,” said convention attendee Ron Starnes.

RELATED: NRA speakers unshaken on gun rights after school massacre

"You can't solve the problem with guns, you can't solve the problem with legislation," said another attendee.

Protestors are calling on Gov. Abbott and Texas lawmakers to introduce new legislation increasing the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21, require universal background checks and introduce a red flag law that would temporarily remove firearms from those who are a danger to themselves or to others.

"It breaks my heart. Just the thought makes me want to cry," one person said, referring to the tragedy in Uvalde. "But like I said, it’s not the gun that kills people, it's people that kill people with knives or cars or alcohol. It's not guns killing them, it's the people."

Many community members protesting in favor of a special session say Gov. Abbott needs to do more in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Uvalde.

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