LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The National Rifle Association has officially endorsed Donald Trump for President. 

The chairman of the National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund, Chris W. Cox, released the following statement in a news release Friday afternoon:

"The stakes in this year's presidential election could not be higher for gun owners.  If Hillary Clinton gets the opportunity to replace Antonin Scalia with an anti-gun Supreme Court justice, we will lose the individual right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense.  Mrs. Clinton has said that the Supreme Court got it wrong on the Second Amendment.  So the choice for gun owners in this election is clear.  And that choice is Donald Trump.  That's why the National Rifle Association of America is announcing our endorsement of Donald J. Trump for President of the United States."

Trump spoke in front of a crowd of thousands at the NRA Convention at Freedom Hall in Louisville Friday afternoon. 

During his remarks, he slammed Hillary Clinton as "heartless" for backing restrictions on gun ownership that he said would leave Americans in high-crime areas unable to protect themselves. He also challenged Clinton to follow his lead and release a list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

Trump centered much of his remarks on Clinton, claiming she would seek to "abolish" the Second Amendment if elected president. He called her a "Heartless Hillary" - a new nickname for the likely Democratic nominee - for backing restrictions aimed at reducing gun deaths, saying her proposals would instead law-abiding citizens at risk from criminals.

"She's putting the most vulnerable Americans in jeopardy," Trump said. "That is so unfair and that is so egregious."

Clinton has said she supports the Second Amendment but that safety measures are needed to keep firearms out of the wrong hands. She has called for expanding background checks to sales at gun shows and online purchases, and for reinstating a ban on assault weapons.

On Friday, Trump reiterated his call for ending "gun-free zones" and touted the list of potential Supreme Court nominees he released this week as a sign of his commitment to upholding the Second Amendment.

Outside of Freedom Hall, protests were expected like Trump's previous stop in Louisville back in March. But largely due to heavy rains, those crowds were mostly non-existent.

About 6,500 people were inside, though, to see Trump and others kick off the convention.

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