Very young guns! Kids as young as six handle real firearms at the NRA convention as America is on course for the deadliest year on record with 469 teens and children dead from gun violence so far this year
Children as young as six have been pictured handling guns at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention, as shooting deaths surge to new heights this year with 469 victims teenagers and kids.
The gun association described the 152nd annual event in Indianapolis, which sees over 650,000 square foot of guns and shooting gear exhibited, as family-friendly.
‘Make plans now to join fellow Second Amendment patriots for a freedom-filled weekend for the entire family!’ the NRA said of the event.
Shocking photos from the exhibition showed small kids inspecting, aiming and playing with guns as their parents watched on.
It comes as 2023 is on track to be the deadliest in terms of gun deaths, with more than 11,523 killed by firearms in the US, including 398 teens and 71 children as of April 10.
A little girl examines a gun at the NRA annual convention in Indianapolis over the weekend
Hudson Eckart, six, from Indiana, tries out a handgun with his grandfather Daniel Eckart
The Louisville tragedy was the country’s 146th such massacre in 2023. On April 10 last year, America had experienced 126 ‘mass shootings’
Firearms at the exhibition over the weekend all had to be ‘deactivated by removal of the firing pin or other alteration so that they are rendered incapable of being fired.’
The conference was free to attend and open to all NRA members and their immediate families, meaning spouse and children under 18 years old.
Images of young families attending emerged as gun violence continues to be the leading cause of death in children in the US, ahead of car accidents and cancer.
Some showed six-year-old Hudson Eckart from Indiana, who inspected and raised a handgun under the supervision of his grandfather.
Also pictured were Alexander Schoenhals, 14, from Oklahoma, as he examined a handgun emblazoned with an American flag, and a little girl called Rachel, aged seven.
The photos prompted backlash online, including from former speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi tweeted: ‘As families mourn loved ones killed in mass shootings and gun violence is the #1 cause of death for children in the US, extreme Republicans cowed to the NRA and bragged about giving guns to kids rather than keeping kids safe.
‘We must defeat these extremists — For The Children.’
Protesters gathered outside the centre, among them teachers who spoke of ‘chilling’ stories they had heard from students as young as five.
Six-year-old Hudson holds a handgun at the conference. The little boy wore an NRA sticker that read: ‘I am freedom’
Two children, who appear to be under the age of 10, are seen inspecting handguns at the convention
Alexander Schoenhals, 14, from Oklahoma, holds American flag handgun
Rachel, seven, holds a handgun as she attends the annual conference with her family
Speaking to Insider, Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, said: Responsible gun owners and parents would not allow a child to put their finger on a firearm’s trigger while pointing it at other people – even if they’re props
‘It’s more clear than ever that the NRA’s goal was never to teach children about responsible gun handling, but to market guns and gun extremism to a new generation.’
Adding to the huge number, four more people were killed by a gunman last night at a sweet sixteen party in Alabama.
Among the four killed were high school seniors Keke Nicole Smith and Philstavious ‘Phil’ Dowdell.
The gun association described the event, which sees over 650,000 square foot of guns and shooting gear exhibited, as family-friendly
A man and his two sons inspect a rifle while attending the 152nd NRA annual convention
A young attendee holds a weapon at the Holosun booth during the NRA annual convention
Tom Branham and grandchild Morgon Nelson, 11, from St. Louis, look at handguns
President Joe Biden used the shooting in Dadesville to once again slam Republicans in calling for gun control regulations Sunday afternoon.
He said in a statement: ‘This is outrageous and unacceptable. Americans agree and want lawmakers to act on commonsense gun safety reforms.
‘Instead, this past week Americans saw national Republican elected leaders stand alongside the NRA in a race to the bottom on dangerous laws that further erode gun safety. Our communities need and deserve better.’
The shooting came just days after further massacres in Louisville, Kentucky, where five bank workers were killed, and at a school in Nashville, Alabama which saw three children and three teachers murdered.
Shooters in both killing sprees were armed with assault rifles.
On Friday, former President Donald Trump used the gathering to rally support for his 2024 presidential campaign.
People protest outside the venue in Indianapolis on Saturday calling for the government to ‘protect kids not guns’
One protester held up a sign which read ‘our kids are worth more than your guns’
‘Let’s be very clear the issue is not too many guns, the issue is too many thugs, hoodlums and savage criminals on our streets’, he told the audience.
He was among contenders for the race to address the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, including former Vice President Mike Pence, Kristi Noem and Ron DeSantis.
The Florida Governor dropped a campaign ad calling Trump a ‘coward’ when it came to gun control just moments before the former president addressed the NRA.
The ad called Trump a ‘gun-grabber’ who has attacked the NRA.
The damaging ad accused Trump of aligning with anti-gun Democrats, naming President Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi.
Former President Donald Trump used the gathering in Indianapolis to rally support for his 2024 presidential campaign
Gun control laws vary widely around the country, with different age requirements for different types of guns.
Federal law prohibits handgun ownership by any person under the age 18, but there is no minimum age for the ownership of long guns like rifles or shotguns.
Commentators have criticised the accessibility of firearms, highlighting that kids’ safety is a concern when it comes to Kinder Surprise eggs – banned because children could choke on them – but not guns – the leading cause of child deaths.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also spoke at the event, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, but virtually
A recent Gallup poll shows 63 percent of Americans ‘dissatisfied’ with the nation’s gun laws with only 34 percent saying they were ‘satisfied.’
Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace warned on Sunday warned her fellow party members ‘can no longer be silent’ on the issue of gun control.
‘Republicans can no longer be silent on this issue, and it’s not about the Second Amendment,’ Mace said on Fox News Sunday. ‘There are plenty of things that we can be doing besides offering prayers in silence.’
America has more guns per capita than any nation in the world and in recent years the numbers have rocketed.
In 2020 alone, US gun sales increased by an astonishing 65 per cent on the previous year.