During a Weekend Plagued by Gun Violence, GOP Stars Flock to the NRA Convention

Trump, Pence, DeSantis, and Haley took the stage.

"This is not a gun problem," said Donald Trump at the NRA convention.Jeremy Hogan/Sipa/AP

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Two deadly shootings took place on Saturday: one at a teenager’s birthday party in Dadeville, Alabama, killing four and injuring several others, and the other in a park in Louisville, Kentucky, killing two people just days after a gunman in the city killed five bank employees.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and other GOP stars took the stage this weekend at the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association, which took place in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

In their speeches, Trump and Pence insisted that the cause of the shootings wasn’t gun access. “This is not a gun problem,” said Trump. “The only way to stop these wicked acts is to ensure that any sicko who would shoot up a school knows that within seconds, not minutes, they will face certain death.” He added that he would investigate whether hormone treatments lead to violence. Pence, meanwhile, called for the execution of mass shooters in “months, not years.”

The dissonance between the tragedy of the weekend’s shootings and the gun policy was underscored on Sunday, when Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey tweeted, “This morning, I grieve with the people of Dadeville and my fellow Alabamians. Violent crime has NO place in our state, and we are staying closely updated by law enforcement as details emerge.” Tweets in response noted the state’s lax gun laws. Last year, Ivey—a Republican who has been governor since 2017—signed legislation allowing people to carry a concealed weapon without a state permit that requires a background check.

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