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Photos show kids as young as 6 handling guns at the NRA’s annual meeting. Gun violence is the leading cause of death among children.

Hudson Eckart, 6, from Indiana, tries out a gun during the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention.A child tries out a gun during the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention.

Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

  • Firearms are the leading cause of death in children, surpassing car accidents and cancer.
  • The NRA held its annual meeting in Indianapolis, which was “free for all NRA members and their families!”
  • Photos from the meeting showed children as young as six years old handling deactivated weapons.
The NRA held its annual meeting in Indiana this weekend.Children look at handguns at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., April 15, 2023.Children look at handguns at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention in Indianapolis on April 15.

Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Families were welcome at the 2023 annual meeting of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which began April 14 in Indianapolis.

“Make plans now to join fellow Second Amendment patriots for a freedom-filled weekend for the entire family!” the NRA website said.

NRA policies require the guns to be “rendered incapable of being fired.”A family checks out guns at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention.A family checks out guns at the NRA annual convention.

Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

All firearms at the exhibit had to be “deactivated by removal of the firing pin or other alteration so that they are rendered incapable of being fired,” according to the NRA’s Firearms & Product Display Regulations.

Once deactivated, the guns were “banded through the trigger guard” for display, the policy stated.

Photos of children handling firearms circulated on social media, prompting backlash.Hudson Eckart, 6, from Indiana, tries out a gun during the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention.A 6-year-old from Indiana tries out a gun during the NRA annual convention.

Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Photos of children handling firearms made the rounds on social media, prompting an outcry from gun control advocates. 

“Eddie Eagle must be sitting on a nest somewhere because he was nowhere to be found this weekend at the NRA’s annual meeting, where young children were handling weapons,” Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, told Insider, referring to the NRA’s gun safety mascot.

She added: “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.”

NRA hopes to push “gun extremism” onto the next generation, Watts said.A child touches a gun at the the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.A child examines a gun at the NRA annual convention in Indianapolis.

Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Firearms became the leading cause of death of children in 2020, surpassing car accidents and cancer.

“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,” Watts told Insider. 

The NRA did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment about the exhibit or Watt’s comments on Sunday. 

The conference came on the heels of mass shootings across the nation.Hudson Eckart, 6, from Indiana, tries out a handgun with his grandfather Daniel Eckart during the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.A 6-year-old tries out a handgun with his grandfather.

Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

The annual conference came on the heels of mass shootings in Nashville, Tennessee and Louisville, Kentucky. Between the two massacres, 11 people died. 

Top Republican speakers at the NRA conference, meanwhile, cited scripture and lauded the Second Amendment. 

“This is not a gun problem,” former President Donald J. Trump said in his speech at the meeting, according to The New York Times

“Stop trampling on the God-given rights of the American people every time tragedy happens,” former Vice President Mike Pence said in his speech, per the Times.

Politicians should fear what NRA “can do to their political careers,” NRA leader said.Arie Eckart, 10, from Indiana, holds a gun at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.A 10-year-old from Indiana holds a gun at the NRA convention.

Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Wayne LaPierre, the longtime leader of the NRA, remained steadfast in his organization’s mission, as protesters gathered outside the convention hall. 

“Gun-hating politicians should never go to bed unafraid of what this association and all of our millions of members can do to their political careers,” LaPierre said, eliciting cheers from the hall, the Times reported. 

Meanwhile, demonstrators outside the meeting read off the names of about 1,600 children who were killed by guns in the last year, according to WFYI radio. 

Read the original article on Business Insider