KEY POINTS

  • Don McLean and five other artists set to perform at the NRA concert have pulled out
  • Beto O’Rourke will attend a rally outside the NRA summit Friday
  • 19 children and 2 teachers were killed at a mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday

Six out of seven artists scheduled to perform at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) weekend conference in Houston, Texas, have announced that they are pulling out of the event. The news comes amid planned protests at the conference after Tuesday’s mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers.

In a statement to USA Today, “American Pie” singer-songwriter Don McLean said he believes “it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA” following the recent shooting. “I’m sure all the folks planning to attend this event are shocked and sickened by these events as well. After all, we are all Americans,” he said.

Larry Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers told CNN that he “cannot, in good conscience, perform at the NRA convention in Houston this weekend.” Gatlin clarified that he agrees “with most of the positions held by the NRA,” but that “the 2nd Amendment should not apply to everyone.” The Second Amendment under the U.S. Constitution states that “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Restless Heart lead singer Larry Stewart has also canceled his appearance at the convention, reiterating his “strong” belief in the 2nd Amendment, but noting that he believes pulling out “is the best for me at this time.”

“God Bless the U.S.A” singer Lee Greenwood also said in a statement Thursday that he would not appear at the convention “out of respect for those mourning the loss of those innocent children and teachers in Uvalde,” NBC News reported.

The NRA convention is set to begin Friday and run throughout the weekend. Musical performances are set for Saturday night at the “NRA Grand Ole Night of Freedom.”

Multiple outlets have since reported that country singer T. Graham Brown has also pulled out of the concert, along with SiriusXM Y2Kountry host Danielle Peck. An unnamed source reportedly told Billboard that the NRA is expected to announce the Saturday concert’s cancelation as Jacob Bryant is the only performer who has not yet canceled his appearance.

News of the canceled NRA performances comes after reports of expected protests at the convention. President of the National Education Association, Becky Pringle, and president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, are expected to speak on gun safety Friday. A press release from the American Federation of Teachers revealed that Pringle and Weingarten “will highlight the NRA’s negligence” in their talks, Axios reported. The unions have yet to announce where they will speak.

An event page posted by Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Texas, Beto O’Rourke, confirmed that he will attend a rally outside the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston – where the NRA’s annual summit will be held. The event page noted that O’Rourke and organizations joining the rally seek to “hold the NRA and the politicians they purchase accountable.”

Among the groups expected to be present at Friday’s NRA protest are March for Our Lives, Black Lives Matter Houston, Moms Demand Action, Harris County Democratic Party, Indivisible Houston, and local teachers’ unions.

An 18-year-old gunman opened fire at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday. The shooting resulted in the deaths of 19 children and 2 teachers. The NRA has since been under increasing pressure to cancel the event. The association said it will "reflect" on the Uvalde school shooting during the summit.

Attendees sign up at the National Rifle Association booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Maryland Attendees sign up at the National Rifle Association (NRA) booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) annual meeting at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, U.S., February 27, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Joshua Roberts