The National Rifle Association on Tuesday announced the cancellation of the organization’s 2021 annual meeting, which was scheduled to take place in Houston next week.

In a statement, the organization wrote that the decision was made after reviewing data regarding COVID-19 in Harris County, which has rapidly spread among the region’s unvaccinated population over the past month due to the highly transmissible delta variant.

According to the NRA, the risk to public safety caused by the pandemic would prevent organizers from offering “the full guest experience.”

“We are mindful that NRA Annual Meeting patrons will return home to family, friends and co-workers from all over the country, so any impacts from the virus could have broader implications,” the statement read.

The cancellation comes as COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the region, effectively overloading the county’s hospital system. As of Tuesday, at least 2,872 COVID patients were hospitalized in Harris County — the highest number of hospitalizations at any point during the pandemic, according to data from the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council.

The organization added that a rescheduled date for the meeting will be announced at a later time.

The annual event, set to celebrate the organization’s 150th anniversary this year, was initially scheduled to take place in May at the George R. Brown Convention Center, but pushed back to September due to health concerns caused by pandemic.

The meeting typically brings about 85,000 people from across the country each year and has an average economic impact of $28.9 million from hotel bookings, restaurants and entertainment, according to Houston First Corp, the quasi-governmental organization that manages the George R. Brown Convention Center and conventions in the city of Houston.

The organization had previously told Houston Public Media that it considered the NRA event’s survival “a significant victory for the city’s challenged convention and hospitality industries.”

The cancellation marks a major loss for Houston’s convention industry, which has been slowly recovering since the beginning of the pandemic in March of last year. The 2020 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was one of the first events to fall to the pandemic, and was followed by several other Houston events — including this year’s Rodeo.

“We look forward to welcoming the NRA back to Houston for a future annual meeting,” Houston First President and CEO Michael Heckman wrote in an emailed statement. “So far this year, Houston has hosted more than 50 safe and successful meetings and conventions. We look forward to working with meeting professionals and show organizers as the industry continues its rebound. Houston continues to be open for business.”

Last week, Houston’s annual Offshore Technology Conference, which in 2019 attracted more than 59,000 people, took place with a much smaller footprint after some major oil and gas companies pulled out of the event. The OTC for the first time declined to provide attendance numbers, saying it would be an unfair comparison to previous years, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Other major conventions on the calendar in Houston this year include the International Quilt Festival in October and the World Petroleum Council in December.


As the Lake County State’s Attorney, I am honored and humbled every day to lead the fight against crime, and to strive to ensure equal and just treatment under the law. I have been an attorney for twenty-two years – and each of those years has made me a stronger and smarter advocate for people, for ideas, and for the principles that unite us all.

I am so proud to lead an office of 140 dedicated colleagues who serve the public by prosecuting crime, advocating for victims, and planning crime prevention programs. I am also proud to work with hundreds of Lake County police officers on a daily basis to connect with every community and to develop comprehensive, holistic plans to respond to the mental health and economic crisis that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic.

On one particular day, July 4, 2022, I was saddened, inspired, and motivated by the bravery of so many people. We will always stand with the victims and honor the police and other first responders who ran toward the danger. Just as so many heroes that day thought only of themselves, I also witnessed the prosecutors in my office answer the call to serve survivors and their community – even on one of its darkest days.

Every moment that I have been your legal representative, I have worked tirelessly to oversee prosecutions and to implement policies that make my family and my neighbors safer in the short term and in the long term. That is the job of the State’s Attorney: to prosecute, to innovate, and to strategically plan.

I was raised in a small town. My parents are teachers, and from them, I learned that everyone must be treated equally and that America’s sacred mission is to provide a political, economic, and legal system that allows anyone to prosper regardless of the circumstances of their birth. After graduating from Knox College and the University of Chicago Law School, I spent two years at a first-rate civil law firm in Chicago where I learned that hard work and attention to detail on every case mean the difference between success and failure.

With my wonderful wife Stephanie, I am raising my two sons, Sam and Teddy, in Lake County. Nothing is more important to me than my family’s safety and I bring that passion and determination to protect all families with me to work every day.

I joined the Lake County Public Defender’s Office in 2003 and started my own law firm in 2009. From 2003 until 2020, I watched the Lake County legal system fail to prioritize violent crime, prevent wrongful prosecutions, or address racial disparities.

So, in 2019, I decided to run for State’s Attorney so that I could serve our community by improving a local legal system that cared more about covering up its mistakes and biases than uncovering new and innovative ways to help people.

I won the 2020 election, and became the first Democrat to hold this position in 40 years. Bringing in a new party wasn’t as important as ending 40 years of one mindset that had forgotten the people and that had failed to act urgently to develop new strategic plans to prevent crime while also ensuring that each prosecution is smart, moral, and just.

We have followed through on our promises. We have built the first-ever violent crimes unit, increased prosecutors in our domestic violence division, and vastly upgraded our cyber lab. Now, we have top-notch software and personnel to finally keep up with those who would exploit others.

We have been awarded a large federal grant to bring the first ever Human Trafficking Task Force to Lake County. We have deepened our investment in people by bringing in more victim specialists and raising the salaries of many of our prosecutors.

But the work goes on. We must expand our prevention efforts that are starting with the Gun Violence Prevention Initiative launched in 2022. And we know that the opioid crisis touches thousands of lives throughout this country.

I am proud to serve on the Executive Board of the Lake County Opioid Initiative which has been working tirelessly since its founding in 2012 to reverse a devastating trend of increased overdoses. In 2022, our office was part of a national settlement against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

As an attorney of 22 years, I have committed my life to helping people, and I have conducted over 70 jury trials in Lake County, and handled appeals that have culminated in over 20 oral arguments before the appellate court and Supreme Court of Illinois.

I see my time in this office as the next phase of helping a community that I love and where I have chosen to raise my family. In my first term, we have made Lake County safer and fairer through just prosecutions, constitutional policing, and innovative crime prevention policies.