By JUAN A. LOZANO
The Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) -- The public face of the National Rifle Association is imploring members to never surrender their weapons in the wake of recent gun control efforts in Congress that he said will "destroy us and every ounce of our freedom."
Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre spoke in Houston during the organization's annual member meeting, which is part of the yearly convention.
LaPierre told several thousand people that the "political and media elites" have tried to use December's shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school and other recent mass shootings "to blame us, to shame us, to compromise our freedom for their agenda."
He also implored lawmakers to instead enforce current federal gun laws and rebuild the nation's mental health system.