NRA boss Wayne LaPierre addressed a raucous crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, saying that his organization would continue to speak out in its defense of the Second Amendment.
“The NRA will not only speak out, we will speak out louder and we will speak out stronger than ever before,” he said to thunderous applause inside the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.
LaPierre said it was his aim to make the message of the NRA more palatable and “just as acceptable as NBC, the New York Times and the rest of the so-called national news media.”
Speaking of the recent shooting in Parkland, Fla., LaPierre expressed sadness, but doubled down on a longstanding NRA position that schools needed to be protected in the same manner as banks and politicians.
“Schools must be the most hardened targets in this country, and evil must be confronted immediately with all necessary force to protect our kids,” said LaPierre.
In addition to his defense of gun rights, LaPierre offered a number of other GOP talking points, including his blasting of “European style socialist” politicians like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“The elimination of due process is the very gold standard of the socialist state,” said LaPierre. “[Democrats] hide behind labels like Democrat, left-wing, and progressive to make their socialist agenda more palatable, and that is terrifying.”
LaPierre preceded the day’s keynote address by Vice President Mike Pence, who was introduced on stage by Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union