(Associated Press) The National Rifle Association kicked off its annual convention Friday with a warning from its incoming president that its members are engaged in a “culture war” that stretches beyond gun rights, further ramping up emotions surrounding the gun control debate.

NRA First Vice President James Porter, who will take over the top job Monday, issued a full-throated challenge in the opening hours to President Barack Obama after the NRA’s major victory on gun control and a call to dig in for a long fight that will stretch into the 2014 elections.

More than 70,000 NRA members are expected to attend the three-day convention amid the backdrop of the defeat of a major gun control bill in the U.S. Senate that was introduced after December’s mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.

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