August 24, 2021
For the second year in a row, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has canceled the organization’s annual meetings, a gathering that had been scheduled to take place early next month from Sept. 3-5, 2021 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.
“Due to concern over the safety of our NRA family and community, we regret to inform you that we have decided to cancel the 2021 Annual Meeting & Exhibits,” read a statement from the NRA on August 24, 2021. “This cancellation applies to all events and meetings that were scheduled in Houston. We will provide future notification regarding a rescheduled date for the annual Meeting of Members.”
The NRA statement indicated that while difficult, the decision was necessary.
“We make this difficult decision after analyzing relevant data regarding COVID-19 in Harris County, Texas,” said the organization’s statement. “We also consulted with medical professionals, local officials, major sponsors & exhibitors, and many NRA members before arriving at this decision.”
Last year in the spring of 2020, COVID-19 forced the shuttering of the group’s annual gathering in Nashville as the world quarantined against the rising tide of the coronavirus. This year, the Second Amendment champion says it’s the same deadly virus that forced the sudden halt to the upcoming convention deep in the heart of Texas.
Given the surging Delta variant across the country, the cancellation isn’t entirely a surprise. Texas—and the Houston metro area—have been particularly hard hit in recent days with rapidly spiking infection numbers, dwindling ICU beds, strained nursing and hospital resources, and breakthrough cases in vaccinated individuals like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
While the group has been embroiled in financial, political, and organizational turmoil in recent months, public health concerns and safety for individuals traveling into and out of Houston played a key role in the cancellation decision.
“The NRA’s top priority is ensuring the health and well-being of our members, staff, sponsors, and supporters,” read the organization’s statement. “We are mindful that NRA Annual Meeting patrons will return home to family, friends and co-workers from all over the country, so any impacts from the virus could have broader implications. Those are among the reasons why we decided to cancel our 2021 event.”
In the aftermath of the Houston cancellation, the NRA says it will now turn its attention to trying to gather next spring in the American Midwest.
“The NRA looks forward to a Celebration of Freedom in Louisville in May 2022. In the meantime, we will support many other NRA local events and smaller gatherings—in a manner that is protective of our members and celebrates our Second Amendment freedom.”