() Welcomed to the stage with a lengthy period of applause, National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre took the stage at CPAC Friday and heralded the Second Amendment as the means through which Americans will remain free and independent.

“As you can imagine, I don’t get invited to many parties in this town,” LaPierre began. “But that’s OK…I didn’t come here to be popular. I came here to stand for what I believe is true.”

He rallied the crowd, saying the “NRA’s nearly 5 million members and America’s nearly 100 million gun owners will not back down in the fight over gun control. “I promise you that,” LaPierre said.

The Second Amendment, he explained, does not include meaningless “words on parchment.” Nor is it some “frivolous suggestion from our Founding Fathers to be interpreted by whim.”

“Our Founding Fathers knew that without the Second Amendment and that freedom, all of our freedoms could be in jeopardy… If you aren’t free to protect yourself when government puts its thumb on that freedom, then you aren’t free at all,” LaPierre proclaimed.

He accused anti-gun elitists of demonizing gun rights activists and trying to tell everyone else they know what’s best for America.

LaPierre pointed to the NRA’s gun safety programs and argued that gun accidents have been brought to an “all-time low.” He said the gun rights organization regularly teaches people how to use, store and handle firearms.

He went on to relentlessly mock the Department of Homeland Security for suggesting that people use scissors to defend themselves against an active shooter.

“Scissors? That’s their answer?” “Let’s get this straight. To protect our children in school we recommend a trained professional with a gun, they recommend scissors. And they say we’re crazy?”

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