HOUSTON (AP) — The National Rifle Association begins its annual convention in Houston on Friday, and leaders of the powerful gun-rights lobbying group are gearing up to “reflect on” — and deflect any blame for — the deadly shooting earlier this week of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

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Former President Donald Trump and other leading Republicans are scheduled to address the three-day gun industry marketing and advocacy event, which is expected to draw protesters.

Some scheduled speakers and performers have backed out, including two Texas lawmakers and “American Pie” singer Don McLean, who said “it would be disrespectful” to go ahead with his act.

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