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Protests planned for NRA's annual meeting at George R. Brown Convention Center

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says the event has been on the books for two years and cannot be cancelled.

HOUSTON — FIEL is organizing a protest of the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting on Friday afternoon.

The NRA is holding its annual meeting from Friday to Sunday at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.

The protest is planned to start at 1 p.m. Friday at the main entrance to the convention center on Avenida de las Americas.

On Wednesday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the annual meeting will go as planned despite calls for it to be cancelled following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday that left 21 dead, including 19 children.

"The convention has been on the books for more than two years," Turner said during Wednesday's City Council meeting. "It's a contractual arrangement. We simply cannot cancel a conference or convention because we do not agree with the subject matter."

Many big political names are expected to speak at the event, including Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Greg Abbott, and former President Donald Trump.

RELATED: 'We simply cannot cancel' | Mayor Turner says NRA meeting will go on as scheduled

Senator John Cornyn pulled out of the event before the Uvalde shooting, due to an unexpected change in his schedule, according to his staff.

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke asked on social media for Abbott to withdraw from the meeting and urge the NRA to hold it anywhere but Texas.

"Governor Abbott, if you have any decency, you will immediately withdraw from this weekend's NRA convention and urge them to hold it anywhere but Texas," O'Rourke wrote on Twitter.

RELATED: Beto O'Rourke crashes Texas Gov. Greg Abbott press conference on Uvalde school shooting, demands change

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor Wednesday in the aftermath of the shooting to call out the Republicans’ decades-long opposition to gun control legislation.

“Maybe the thought of putting yourself in the shoes of these parents instead of in the arms of the NRA might let you wriggle free from the vise-like grip of the NRA to act on even a simple measure,” the New York Democrat said. “For the sake of these children, these 9-year-olds, these 10-year-olds, these 11-year-olds, these beautiful children, please, damn it.”

The Democrats’ pleas to Republican colleagues reflect a long history of congressional inaction on gun control since a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, nearly a decade ago. Democratic lawmakers have introduced countless proposals that would have required a background check of the gunman in Texas. All failed to pass, mostly due to the filibuster.

Schumer pledged Wednesday to move forward with or without Republican lawmakers. “If we can’t find a good, strong bill that has bipartisan support, we will continue to pursue this issue on our own,” he said.

The NRA issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon on their annual meeting:

"Our deepest sympathies are with the families and victims involved in this horrific and evil crime. On behalf of our members, we salute the courage of school officials, first responders and others who offered their support and services.

Although an investigation is underway and facts are still emerging, we recognize this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal. As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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