A ban that was ordered by the U.S. Secret Service, the NRA announced that weapons of all kinds will be prohibited from the Institute for Legislative Action Leadership forum “prior to and during” Vice President Mike Pence’s keynote speech in Dallas on Friday.
Donald Trump will also address the national convention, which draws more than 80,000 NRA members over a three-day firearm exhibit, the White House confirmed, but it’s unknown when he will speak.
The NRA made the announcement of the weapons restriction on it’s event page in which it explained:
“Due to the attendance of the Vice President of the United States, the U.S. Secret Service will be responsible for event security at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum. As a result, firearms and firearm accessories, knives or weapons of any kind will be prohibited in the forum prior to and during his attendance.”
The announcement listed the prohibited items to include selfie sticks, backpacks, signs, drones, laser pointers, toy guns and weapons of any kind, NPR reported.
While it’s “standard operating procedure for the Secret Service to coordinate security wherever the vice president travels,” a Secret Service official told NPR, many victims and parents of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead, are criticizing the NRA noting the irony in the policies.
“On so many levels, this is enlightening. According to the NRA, we should want everyone to have weapons when we are in public. But when they put on a convention, the weapons are a concern? I thought giving everyone a gun was to enhance safety. Am I missing something?” Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter, Jaime, was a victim in the Parkland massacre, tweeted.
Matt Deitsch, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who has helped organize many protests including “March for Our Lives” took to Twitter asking for an explanation as to why the “NRA wants to protect people who help them sell guns, not kids.”
“Wait wait wait wait wait wait you’re telling me to make the VP safe there aren’t any weapons around but when it comes to children they want guns everywhere?” Deitsch tweeted.
Secret Service officials said in a statement that the agency has the “authority to preclude firearms from entering sites visited by our protectees, including those located in open-carry states.”
But NRA members are also criticizing the restriction. In an online forum called Texas CHL, one member posted his concerns:
“If I was a [Democrat], I’d have a field day with this,” one member wrote. “Obviously even republicans and so called leaders don’t trust the ‘good guys.’ I realize it’s the VP, but still makes our whole argument look foolish. You may disagree…but in my opinion the very people that claim to protect the 2A should never host an event that requires disarming the good guys. Sad. No excuses for this…it makes us look stupid.”