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(WGHP) — Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson attended the NRA’s annual leadership summit in Texas over the weekend in spite of pleading from parents and fellow politicians to reconsider his speaking engagement in the wake of the Uvalde mass shooting that killed 21, including 19 children.

“Secure our schools,” he declared emphatically as part of an impassioned 10-minute speech on Friday.

He vowed, as he has in the past, to continue fighting against gun control, saying that its proponents want to “disarm” Americans, accusing federal lawmakers supporting gun control of wanting to leave “patriotic citizens of this nation unarmed and defenseless.”

“We are not going to go off into that good night, without standing up for our rights.”

Robinson is a board member for the NRA, and the NRA has embraced his championing of guns since before his political career even properly began, with Robinson’s viral remarks at a Greensboro City Council meeting put into an NRA commercial.

The NRA has been under intense scrutiny for moving forward with their planned summit only a few hours away from where a community has been shaken by extreme gun violence. Other speakers canceled their appearance — Governor Greg Abbott sent a recorded message and then spent the time in Uvalde — but Robinson stayed on the docket, deriding the “leftists back home” who asked him to reconsider.

The North Carolina Democratic Party released a letter signed by over 700 parents and several members of the state legislature addressed to the Lieutenant Governor, urging him to reconsider attending, and accusing him of being “beholden” to the NRA instead of North Carolina’s children.

“How many children do you need to see gunned down, communities torn apart, and lives upended, before you’ll finally decide to put lives ahead of the gun lobby?” the letter asks. “Republican leaders like yourself continue to make it clear they callously care more about keeping money in the pockets of gun manufacturers and the gun lobby than dead children. When will it end?”

Robinson said the shooting in Uvalde left him “heartbroken” and said that schools deserve just as much security as places like airports.

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WGHP reached out to Robinson for a statement on Wednesday, and on Thursday he responded by calling the shooting in Uvalde “pure evil.” He did not answer WGHP’s questions about his engagement with the NRA in Houston.

Robinson also led a “prayer breakfast” on Sunday morning.

On May 25, Governor Roy Cooper posted a video calling for updated, stricter laws on gun ownership.