National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre delivered a speech at the group’s annual meeting in Indianapolis on Friday, and warmed up the crowd with his trademark bombastic rhetoric in defense of the Second Amendment.
“You feel it in your heart, you know it in your gut,” LaPierre said, according to a transcript prepared by the NRA. “Something has gone wrong. The core values we believe in, the things we care about most, are changing. Eroding. Our right to speak. Our right to gather. Our right to privacy. The freedom to work, and practice our religion, and raise and protect our families the way we see fit.”
The “core values” of the nation, LaPierre said, are “slipping away.” LaPierre painted a picture of a country “in trouble.”
“In virtually every way, for the things we care about most, we feel profound loss,” he said. “We’re sad not because we fear something is going wrong, but because we know something already has gone wrong. It’s why more and more Americans are buying firearms and ammunition. Not to cause trouble, but because we sense that America is already in trouble.”
LaPierre argued that “political dishonesty” and “media dishonesty” have been linked, and that the “elites” are lying to the rest of the country. And he spoke of the IRS as a new weapon wielded by the government.
“The IRS is now a weapon,” LaPierre said. “A weapon to punish anyone who disagrees with them, and that means every one of you. They try to regulate our religion. They collect our cell phone and email data. They give us Solyndra, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, massive unemployment, a debt that will choke our grandchildren and one executive order on top of another.”
As always with LaPierre, the collapse of society was just a few turns of phrase away.
“We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and car-jackers and knock-out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, road-rage killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids, or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse the society that sustains us all,” he said.
Looking forward to the fall election, LaPierre told the crowd to be prepared for a “bare-knuckled street fight.”
“They’re going after every House and Senate seat, governor’s chair and statehouse they can get their hands on — laying the groundwork to put a Clinton back in the White House,” he said. “But mark my words: The NRA will not go quietly into the night. We will fight.”
You can read the full text of the speech here.