Skip to main content


Bye bye, Mr. NRA guy: Don McLean, others no-show at annual Texas conference

So far, Don Mclean, Lee Greenwood, Larry Gatlin, Larry Stewart and T. Graham Brown have pulled out of Saturday's NRA show

May 27, 2022 12:12pm

Updated: May 28, 2022 10:59am

The National Rifle Association’s annual convention begins in Houston today and leaders from within the pro-gun lobby are expected to “reflect on” and the deadly elementary school shooting that left at least 19 children and two teachers dead.

Although leading Republicans like former President Donald Trump are scheduled to speak, several artists who were scheduled to perform at the “NRA’s Grand Ole Nigh of Freedom” have dropped out from the event, noting that playing after the tragic events in Uvalde, Texas would be “disrespectful.”

So far, these artists include Don Mclean, Lee Greenwood, Larry Gatlin, Larry Stewart and T. Graham Brown, Axios reported.

"In light of the recent events in Texas, I have decided it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA at their convention in Houston this week," McLean – the author of the iconic “American Pie” – said in a statement.  

"I’m sure all the folks planning to attend this event are shocked and sickened by these events as well. After all, we are all Americans," he added. "I share the sorrow for this terrible, cruel loss with the rest of the nation."

Famed country singer Larry Gatlin said in a statement, “I cannot, in good conscience, perform at the NRA convention in Houston this weekend,” the Houston Chronicle reported.

"While I agree with most of the positions held by the NRA, I have come to believe that, while background checks would not stop every madman with a gun, it is at the very least a step in the right direction toward trying to prevent the kind of tragedy we saw this week in Uvalde— in my beloved, weeping TEXAS," the country legend said in a statement.

"I'm a 2nd Amendment guy, but the 2nd Amendment should not apply to everyone. It's that simple,” he said.

Larry Stewart, the lead vocalist for the band Restless Heart, also released a statement explaining his decision to skip the performance.

"I want to honor the victims, families, the town and our friends in the great state of Texas the best I know how," a statement said.

Similarly, Lee Greenwood – best known for his song “God Bless the U.S.A.” – also announced he will stay home this weekend.

"As a father, I join the rest of America in being absolutely heartbroken by the horrific event that transpired this week in Texas," Greenwood said in a statement. "After thoughtful consideration, we have decided to cancel the appearance out of respect for those mourning the loss of those innocent children and teachers in Uvalde."

In the wake of Tuesday’s tragic school massacre – which left 19 children and two teachers dead -- pro-gun groups like the NRA have come under fire from progressive gun control advocates and moderate Republicans alike for resisting tighter restrictions on the acquisition of fire arms.

Following the shooting, bipartisan discussions about a potential agreement on a red flag gun bill are currently underway in the Senate following the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school.

In total, 19 states have red flag laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of violent or mentally ill individuals. 

"We talked about the red flag," said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). "It's worked. It's worked in states such as Florida. It's been very effective."

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) also said he would consider voting for the gun control legislation.

"I'm going to look at anything that has practical application and the ability to pass that's going to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill," he said. 

Outgoing Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) also said he could get behind a bipartisan, federal red flag bill.

"We know that we can show we can be united to protect our children," he said. "That's the thing in a nutshell."

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) signaled that he's open to a federal red flag bill.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said red flag laws are a good idea but should be left up to each state.

Sens. Scott, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Angus King (I-Maine) introduced red flag legislation last year, but it did not make it out of the Senate.

This legislation, the Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act, however, could serve as a basis for a potential agreement after the Texas shooting.

The Rubio and Scott bill would allow the Department of Justice to use federal funds to incentivize states to adopt red flag laws like Florida's from 2018.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday poured cold water on the prospect that a major gun control bill would be brought to a vote before the midterm elections in November.