NRA cancels annual meeting in Texas due to COVID concerns

HOUSTON (AP) — The National Rifle Association announced Tuesday it has canceled its annual meeting, which had been set to be held next month in Houston, due to concerns over COVID-19.

The NRA’s meeting had been set for Sept. 3 through Sept. 5 and would have been attended by thousands of people taking part in social gatherings and other events on acres of exhibition space.

The organization said it made the decision after analyzing relevant data regarding COVID-19 in Harris County, where Houston is located. Houston, like other Texas cities and communities, has seen a jump in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to 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.

“The NRA’s top priority is ensuring the health and well-being of our members, staff, sponsors, and supporters. 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,” the NRA said in a statement.

The NRA had announced in January it had filed for bankruptcy protection and would change its state of incorporation from New York to gun-friendly Texas.

A judge rejected the NRA’s bankruptcy case in May, ruling the nonprofit organization 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.

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