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Disturbing pictures of an injured kindergartner from Pascagoula have made a mother's call for action go viral online. Friends and family of a Pascagoula kindergarten student have created a Facebook page and GoFundMe.com account claiming the girl was attacked on the playground this week by another student.More >>
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Sarah Palin, Chuck Norris, and other famous speakers fired up Time Warner Cable Arena Friday, as they spoke at the NRA convention.
Seventy thousand people are expected to attend the National Rifle Association' annual meeting in Charlotte which started Friday morning and continues through the weekend.
The crowd erupted in applause when Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican candidate for vice president, walked to the podium around 2:30 p.m Friday.
Palin told the crowd she had already told the 'tech guys' to turn off the TelePrompTer and that she had her speech in the palm of her hand which read "I love the NRA!" (Look in our Video Gallery on the right to watch Palin's complete speech.)
Palin is an NRA member who has drawn praise from the group for supporting gun rights.
During her speech, she said President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies would ban guns and ammunition if they could get away with it.
Palin said political backlash is the only thing stopping Obama from gutting the Second Amendment. Palin said the public needs to stop Democrats in their tracks, starting with the November elections.
She praised the tea party movement as a grassroots effort "to get government back on our side."
After leaving the event, she headed to South Carolina for a campaign rally with a Republican candidate for governor who is popular with tea party activists.
Actor Chuck Norris spoke near the end of the event. Afterwards, in an interview with WBTV, Norris said he believes the constitution is under attack and he's fighting to protect the rights that are in it.
"It's not a living document," Norris said in criticism of those who say what the constitution means should change with time. "It means what it says and it says what it means. I don't want that torn apart, because if it does, it's the beginning of the end for our country."
Norris said he wants to help the already powerful NRA get even more voters to the polls.
"So many people are gun owners, are NRA members, but a lot of them don't register to vote," Norris said.
The weekend's events will also include speeches from conservative commentator Glenn Back and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Attendee Paul Sick traveled all the way from California to attend the meeting in Charlotte.
"What the NRA is trying to do for this country is the right thing to do," said Sick.
NRA membership numbers have spiked in the past year, with one million new members since President Obama took office, as many feel they will have to defend their second amendment rights even more.
"It's been under attack for years but never like it is right now," said Tom Williams, an NRA member from Texas.
For others, the convention is a time to celebrate.
"We're just concerned American citizens," said Jane Baumgarder, an NRA supporter from Mississippi. "And we want to keep our second Amendment rights."
The attendees this weekend are expected to pump $20 million into the local economy.
Copyright 2010 WBTV. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.