The annual convention of the National Rifle Association ended Sunday with a family-friendly event called “Youth Day.” During the event, youngsters were offered free six-month memberships by the NRA.
“Spend the day exploring 400,000 square feet of exhibit hall containing over 550 exhibitors from across the country. Share the excitement with spectacular displays and fun-filled events for the entire family,” the NRA wrote on its website.
Youth Day was held one day after 3-year-old Elaih Wagan became the NRA’s youngest lifetime member. Wagan’s grandfather purchased the membership.
People outside the event thought that the NRA promoting gun use to children was in bad taste.
The December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School were certainly on the minds of those who opposed the convention. “It agitates me that these people don’t think it could happen to their children,” said a man named Ross from Austin. “This is just beyond words.”
A Houston resident agreed, The New York Daily News reported.
“This is indoctrination,” said Jose Sequeiros, 67. “These kids are too young to see that guns are wrong.”
According to Josh Sugarmann, the executive director of the Violence Policy Center, the NRA convention included, “the manufacturers of the assault rifles used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 students and six educators dead (Bushmaster, Booth 3834) and the Aurora theater shooting that left 12 dead and 58 injured (Smith & Wesson, Booth 2711).”
Despite the opposition to the event, some people enjoyed it. “I like guns because guns are fun,” said 9-year-old Kaykay Mace. Her dad, Scott, added: “If a child understands how to properly and safely shoot, then they become much safer. In a bad situation, they will understand what needs to be done.”