Protesters gather outside of Friends of NRA event in Del Rio to stand with Uvalde

A similar event was blocked from happening in Hondo in August.

The Friends of NRA held a fundraising event Saturday in Del Rio, about 80 miles to the West of Uvalde.

DEL RIO – The Friends of NRA held a fundraising event Saturday in Del Rio, about 80 miles to the West of Uvalde.

A small group gathered outside the event to protest and stand in solidarity with the Uvalde community.

“If that guy didn’t have an assault weapon, if it was just a Glock, maybe that would have changed, saved some lives. Maybe those officers would have ran in there,” one protester said, holding a sign.

Those strong words came from a small group of protesters along Highway 90 in Del Rio speaking out against the Friends of NRA event.

“We thought it was too soon, you know, Uvalde is just down the road from us,” Mariza Mancha, a protester said.

Mancha said the event is the Friends of NRA’s annual fundraiser.

Valarie Rodriguez, another protester, said they attended the Val Verde commissioners court on Sept. 27th asking them to push the event back out of respect for what happened at Robb Elementary.

“We do stand with Uvalde. We’re not OK with what happened, we’re not OK with an 18-year-old being able to purchase an AR-15. We’re not OK with the NRA raffling that to a child as well. I mean children, 18-year-olds have bought them. They’re still children and that there needs to be change,” Rodriguez said.

According to the event’s flyer, there will be guns raffled and if you make a large enough donation you can receive an assault-style weapon.

KSAT 12 reporter Leigh Waldman asked if any of the organizers of the event would like to speak but they declined. However, a woman attending the event came out to speak with one of the protesters.

We caught the tail end of the conversation. She explained she respected what they were doing and hopes the protesters had the same respect for them.

According to the Friends of NRA website, they fundraise for the future of shooting sports.

“I do believe that you know, they should know how to operate the guns and yeah I’m all for that, but some certain guns shouldn’t be you know in the hands of just regular citizens, they should belong in the war,” Mancha said.

Mancha and Rodriguez said they just want respect for the survivors of Robb Elementary and victims’ families given the proximity of Del Rio to Uvalde.

“This kind of event should not be happening right now. This just happened in May, I mean, this is not okay. Like it’s not okay for it to be happening here,” Rodriguez said.

On August 1st, the Hondo City Council blocked a similar Friends of NRA event from happening by revoking the group’s rental agreement to use Fair Hall.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.