5,000 signatures reached
To: Houston First Corporation
Cancel the NRA's event NOW!
On May 24th, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas, 19 children and 3 adults were added to the growing death toll due to mass shootings in the United States. As physicians who have spent years in education and training to become experts on how to improve the health of our communities, we cannot stand by idly as these heinous acts of gun violence continue to destroy the physical and mental health of our communities.
On the heels of this tragedy, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is scheduled to begin its annual meeting in Houston, a few short hours from Uvalde. We call on the Houston First Corporation, a local government corporation that manages the George R. Brown Convention Center and owns the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel to cancel this week's annual meeting in an act of solidarity with a nation reeling.
Many of us have attended medical society meetings at the George R. Brown Convention Center. If the Houston First Corporation proceeds in hosting the most well-funded gun lobby in the United States two days after another mass shooting of elementary school children, we will boycott this venue for future meetings.
The United States has a firearm homicide rate 25 times higher than other high-income countries (1). As scientists, we understand the importance of public health research on gun violence and gun violence prevention. Due to lobbying efforts by the NRA since the 1990s, grant funding for this vital work became almost non-existent for over 20 years (2). This organization cripples the efforts of physicians, researchers, public health officials, and many others to save lives. The American public deserves evidence-based measures to curb firearm-related deaths. The NRA must be held to account for its role in this public health crisis. We demand action beyond thoughts and prayers.
1. Grinshteyn E, Hemenway D. Violent Death Rates: The US Compared with Other High-income OECD Countries, 2010. Am J Med. 2016 Mar;129(3):266-73. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2015.10.025. Epub 2015 Nov 6. PMID: 26551975.
2. Rostron A. The Dickey Amendment on Federal Funding for Research on Gun Violence: A Legal Dissection. Am J Public Health. 2018;108(7):865-867. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2018.304450
Why is this important?
THE MORAL IMPERATIVE:
We are mourning. Children should not be sent to school to die. They deserve to live in a country that is safe, to learn and to grow without the threat of violence in their communities. Hosting the annual meeting of the lobby that has recklessly endangered their lives is a moral affront.
We call for a national pledge to boycott the George R. Brown Convention Center and Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel unless the upcoming NRA annual meeting is canceled. We ask that those who sign on exercise our collective power against the assaults and complicity.