The U.S. National Rifle Association
is in the second day of a three-day convention, just two weeks after the U.S. Senate failed to pass a bill that would have expanded background checks for gun buyers.
More than 70,000 people are expected at the convention in Houston, in the southern state of Texas, where the theme is "Stand and Fight". The event is being held in the midst of increased debate over gun rights following the the deaths of 26 people in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December.
Texas Governor and former presidential candidate Rick Perry told the crowd of NRA members Friday that such tragedies allow "people who hate guns" to seize the opportunity to call for new gun laws. He said more such laws only make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to own guns.
Protesters gathered in Houston are calling for tighter gun regulations, such as banning military-style, semi-automatic weapons.
Polls show that more than 70 percent of Americans support expanding background checks of potential gun buyers.
New NRA president James Porter, currently the lobby organization's vice president, assumes his new office on Monday. News reports Friday noted that in a 2012 speech to the New York Rifle and Pistol Association, he called U.S. President Barack Obama a "fake president" and Attorney General Eric Holder "un-American."
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.