CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin warned NRA members Friday that President Obama wants to gut the Second Amendment and told a separate gathering that “mama grizzlies” will help Republicans win this November, sweeping away the Democratic agenda.

Palin, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, told National Rifle Association members during their annual meeting that all that’s stopping Obama and his Democratic allies from trying to ban guns is political backlash.

“Don’t doubt for a minute that, if they thought they could get away with it, they would ban guns and ban ammunition and gut the Second Amendment,” said Palin, a lifelong NRA member. “It’s the job of all of us at the NRA and its allies to stop them in their tracks.”

Gun enthusiasts have trumpeted fears that their rights would erode under a Democratic-led White House and Congress, but Obama has been largely silent on issues such as reviving an assault weapons ban or strengthening background checks at gun shows. He also signed a law letting people carry loaded guns in national parks.

Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice-presidential nominee, also praised tea party activism, and scoffed at suggestions that the movement had roots in violence or racism.

During an event earlier Friday in Washington sponsored by an anti-abortion group, she challenged Republican women to help the GOP “take this country back” and elect anti-abortion lawmakers. She praised female leaders of the tea party movement and invoked the 2008 acceptance speech where she compared herself to a pit bull.

“You don’t want to mess with moms who are rising up,” Palin said at the Susan B. Anthony List event. “If you thought pit bulls were tough, you don’t want to mess with mama grizzlies.”

Last year, Palin said that “for a fleeting moment,” she had considered having an abortion when she learned that her son Trig would be born with Down syndrome.

On Friday, she said that as the parent of a single teenage mother and a child with special needs, her experiences had not altered her opposition to abortion but gave her “tremendous empathy” for women considering abortion in the face of challenging pregnancies.

On Friday, she said, “What Bristol (her daughter) and I have been through has not changed my belief, but it has changed my perspective on the whole situation.

“I now understand why a woman would be tempted, perhaps, to think that, well, it might just be an easier way out, to try to change the circumstances, to take the situation in my own hands and change this.

“I understand what goes through her mind, if even for a moment, a split second, because I’ve been there.”

She also said Friday that abortion is morally wrong and women should carry a fetus to term. “It may not be the easiest path, but it’s always the right path,” she said.

She said Obama is “the most pro-abortion president ever to occupy the White House” and asserted that the health care law would fund abortions.

In fact, Obama’s health care law would not allow federal dollars to pay for elective abortions. Catholic hospitals and organizations of nuns backed the measure. U.S. Catholic bishops and major anti-abortion groups opposed it, arguing that federal dollars could end up paying for abortions.