The news that the National Rifle Association (NRA) canceled its annual meeting due to COVID concerns has triggered a public outpouring of shock mixed with ironic “thoughts and prayers.”
The NRA announced the decision on Tuesday afternoon, citing the rapid increase in COVID cases in the Houston area, where the event was scheduled to take place from Sept. 3 through Sept. 5.
“We make this difficult decision after analyzing relevant data regarding COVID-19 in Harris County, Texas. We also consulted with medical professionals, local officials, major sponsors & exhibitors, and many NRA members before arriving at this decision,” the organization said in a statement, adding that current conditions would “prove difficult, if not impossible, to offer the full guest experience that our NRA members deserve.”
“The NRA’s top priority is ensuring the health and well-being of our members, staff, sponsors, and supporters,” the statement continued. “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.”
It’s true that Houston, like many other Texas cities and communities, has been hit hard by the highly contagious Delta variant. Hospitals in the Houston area and around the state have continued to fill up with COVID-19 patients, with ambulances sometimes waiting hours to offload patients as beds have become scarce.
Much of the Twitterverse couldn’t help but call out the irony of the NRA identifying the “health and well-being of our members, staff, sponsors, and supporters” as a “top priority” when gun violence is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.
Here are some highlights.
Many shrewd commenters were quick to note that the NRA’s magnanimous reasoning for the cancellation is most likely BS given that several gun manufacturers had already pulled out of the conference and the fact that the organization is, well, bankrupt.
The NRA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in January, leading the organization to reincorporate in Texas.
A judge rejected the case in May, ruling that the NRA had not acted in good faith.
The organization filed for bankruptcy protection months after New York Attorney General Letitia James sued the NRA, seeking its dissolution over claims that top executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates and other questionable expenditures. That lawsuit is ongoing.