The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has canceled his participation in the annual meeting of the powerful NRA gun lobby, according to US media reports. Instead, he will attend a press conference in Uvalde, Texas on Friday, several US media reported late Thursday (local time), citing the governor’s office.

In the small town, an 18-year-old killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school on Tuesday before being shot dead by police.

Former US President Donald Trump had confirmed his appearance at the meeting of the gun lobby organization after the massacre. Abbott, on the other hand, will not be there in person, the reports said. Instead, he will address attendees via a video to be played at the event.

On the NRA website, Abbott was initially on the program as a confirmed speaker on Friday night. According to media reports, after the massacre at the elementary school, several musicians had canceled their performances at the event.

Abbott’s cancellation comes as the massacre has reignited the national debate over access to firearms. At an earlier Abbott press conference on the killing spree, there was a political scandal.

Democrat Beto O’Rourke interrupted Abbott’s ongoing press conference on Wednesday and criticized him for his stance on gun laws in the country. O’Rourke, who wants to challenge Abbott in the next Texas gubernatorial election in November, accused the Republican of not doing anything about rampant gun violence in the United States.

Abbott did not respond to the allegations. He had argued at the press conference that stricter laws were not the solution to prevent acts like the one in Uvalde.

A tightening of gun laws in the USA has failed for many years due to a fundamental disagreement between Democrats and Republicans on this issue.