President Trump thanks supporters at NRA convention in Atlanta
ATLANTA - President Donald Trump is speaking in Atlanta at the National Rifle Association's annual convention. Trump arrived at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport at 1:28 p.m. on his 99th day in office.
"The eight year assault on your second amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end," said President Trump. "You have a true friend and champion in the White House. No longer will federal agencies be coming after the law-abiding gun owners."
The president boarded Air Force One in Washington, D.C. just after 11:45 a.m. Traveling with President Trump on Air Force One was Sean Spicer, Ryan Zinke, Steve Bannon and Jason Miller.
The presidential motorcade drove to the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum at the Georgia World Congress Center, where Trump addressed those attending the annual meeting.
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10,000 people were on hand for the event, according to he NRA. President Trump took the stage at 2:05pm.
"It's great to be back in Atlanta," said President Trump. "And back with my friends at the NRA."
The convention also featured NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator David Perdue, Congressman Clay Higgins, Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret.).
Trump will become the first president to appear at a NRA convention since Ronald Reagan in 1983.
"I know we have many veterans in the audience today, and I know we want to give them a big, big round of applause," said President Trump to an applauding crowd.
The president's trip to Atlanta also serves as his first foray into a congressional race since taking office. He will attend a private fundraiser for Republican congressional candidate Karen Handel after the NRA event.
Trump called for Handel to take the seat vacated by Tom Price, who resigned to join Trump's Cabinet as health secretary. Handel emerged from a crowded Republican primary field to be the nominee. Trump called such battles "too nerve shattering."
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The NRA is pushing for federal legislation to make any state's concealed-carry permits valid everywhere else, which opponents say would effectively turn the weakest gun standards in the nation into the law of the land. And the NRA is out to eliminate gun-free zones at schools and reduce state requirements for background checks, among other things.
"We have made clear that our administration will always stand with the incredible men and women of law enforcement," said President Trump. "In fact, countless members of law enforcement are members of the NRA because our police know that responsible ownership saves lives."
Trump has been a champion of gun rights and supportive of NRA efforts to loosen restrictions on gun ownership. During the campaign, he promised to do away with President Barack Obama's efforts to strengthen background checks.
Dozens of protesters have gathered throughout Atlanta in response to the president's visit to Atlanta.
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The chief lobbyist for the NRA, Chris Cox, told the group's convention that on Election Day, "our candidate became our president." Cox received repeated ovations as he addressed the NRA's 146th annual meeting.
Cox named some of the key appointees in the Trump administration, including newly installed Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.