National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre told the Conservative Political Action Conference today that he sees a changing America with eroding freedoms in which people will need to assert the right “to protect our families with all the rifles, handguns and shotguns we want.”

LaPierre noted that this time last year pundits were “calling me about every nasty name in the book” for putting forth a plan for armed responders in schools in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting.

The NRA leader didn’t specifically address the gun-control legislative efforts that have since fizzled in Congress, but said “freedom has never needed our defense more than now.”

“You know it in your gut; something in our country has gone wrong,” LaPierre said, listing “core values” that are “eroding” from the “freedom to work, to practice our religion, raise families way we see fit.”

“They are core freedoms that have always defined us as a nation,” he said. “We feel them slipping away… we fear for the safety of our families.”

“More Americans buy firearms and ammunition not to cause trouble but because America is in trouble.”

LaPierre rattled off a list of crimes that people need protection from, including terrorists, knockout-game assailants and rapists. “We are on our own, that is a certainty,” he said. “When you’re on your own, the surest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

“All we believe in and fight for, it’s really become a metaphor for all freedoms that we want preserved,” he added, encouraging new NRA signups at the CPAC booth.

“The Second Amendment makes us stronger than other countries, it makes us better than other countries,” LaPierre said.

He predicted a “bare-knuckle street fight” in 2014 headed into 2016. “They’re laying the groundwork to put another Clinton back in the White House,” the NRA chief said, and have an ultimate goal to “fundamentally transform America into an America you won’t recognize.”

“The NRA will not go quietly into the night; we will fight, I promise you that.”

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