A Dallas city councilman wants the National Rifle Association to find someplace else to hold its annual conference set for May in Dallas.
"I am saying to the NRA: reconsider yourselves coming to Dallas," Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway told reporters Monday. "There will be marches and demonstrations."
The event will include exhibits where attendees can buy guns, including so-called assault weapons, during the group's 147th annual meeting May 4-6 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas.
Caraway said that after last week's mass shooting left 17 dead in Parkland, Florida, he wants the NRA to "come to the table" to discuss the sale of assault weapons.
"The NRA needs to step up to the plate and show leadership. Elected officials are receiving dollars from the NRA, and they're afraid to set policy and to set necessary gun rules," Caraway said.
Caraway told reporters Monday that he owns five guns and even keeps one in his car, but he said there are some firearms no one should be allowed to own.
"We should not allow people to possess assault rifles and weapons," he said. "Who needs an AR-15 to go hunting? Who needs an AR-15 to protect their house?"
"They talk about mental illness. Yes, mental illness is an issue, but it's not just an issue that should only be associated with guns. At the end of the day, we need to connect the dots," Carraway added.
Carraway's office did not return TheBlaze's request for comments.
What do other Dallas council members say about it?
Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates told WFAA-TV that the group has a right to hold its convention in Dallas.
“They’re constitutionally protected to be in the convention center," Staubach Gates said. "It’s a public building. We can’t be in the business to censor who uses that building.”
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said his concern is for the city's image but he has no plans to stop the NRA from holding its event in Dallas.
The mayor issued this statement to KTVT-TV:
We’re always working to be a welcoming city for people and organizations of diverse backgrounds and beliefs. But, of course, I’m concerned about the image of Dallas as the host of this convention. I know I’m one of many Dallasites who doesn’t agree with the NRA’s viewpoints or tactics. However, they have a legal contract that was signed in 2012 and I’m not advocating that we violate that agreement. Hopefully, we will take the opportunity in Dallas to engage in meaningful dialogue about how we work together to end mass killings in America.
What does the NRA say?
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam doesn't appear concerned about Caraway's comments.
He told WFAA the group is ready to come to Dallas in May.
"No politician anywhere can tell the NRA not to come to their city," Arulanandam said. "We are already there. Dallas, like every American city and community, is populated by NRA members. Our members work in fire stations and police departments. They save lives in local hospitals and own businesses in communities urban and rural throughout this country."
A local gun store owner said he thinks Caraway has other motives for his concern.
"In my opinion, Mr. Caraway's biggest concern right now is getting publicity," Tom Mannewitz said.
"If Dwaine Caraway feels that way about it, why wasn't he talking about that several months ago when they booked the NRA?" he asked. "He should have raised his objections months ago."