The National Rifle Association will not allow attendees to carry firearms when Vice President Mike Pence speaks Friday at its annual meeting.
The move by the most influential gun-rights lobby in the United States has sparked outrage among the survivors of the deadly shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school, who say school children should be afforded the same protection as the vice president.
“You are telling me to make the VP safe there aren’t any weapons around but when it comes to children they want guns everywhere?” tweeted Matt Deitsch, a student at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 teens and adults were killed on February 14.
Another student, Cameron Kasky said on Twitter that the “NRA has evolved into such a hilarious parody of itself.”
Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime died in the shooting, also sounded incredulous at the ban.
“I thought giving everyone a gun was to enhance safety. Am I missing something?” he tweeted.
The NRA explained the ban as an order of the Secret Service, which is tasked with protecting Pence. The NRA website said “firearms, firearm accessories, knives or weapons of any kind will be prohibited in the forum prior and during his attendance.” The list of prohibited items also includes, drones, ammunition, signs and glass bottles.
With the exception of the Pence event, lawfully carried firearms will be allowed at the convention center and the hotel hosting the event.
The NRA’s conference in Dallas, Texas, runs from May 3 through May 6. It is expected to attract more than 80,000 members and will include “more than 20 acres” of weapons exhibits.