January 10th, 2013
08:19 PM ET
9 years ago

National Rifle Association gearing up for a fight

Washington (CNN) - The National Rifle Association is gearing up to face one of the strongest challenges to its cause in many years: recommendations from an Obama administration working group on gun violence that are expected to address assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips.

CNN has learned the NRA is also preparing an ad campaign, expected to include both print and television advertisements, that would begin soon to help mount its opposition to new gun restrictions. NRA officials refused to discuss specifics.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker']

The administration's working group on violence, led by Vice President Joe Biden, will deliver its recommendations to President Barack Obama by Tuesday.

"We are mobilizing for a fight," NRA President David Keene told CNN. "We will engage our members."

The association is planning to send mailings to its members urging them to contact members of Congress with their opposition to new gun laws. "Let them know you feel strongly," is how Keene summarized the group's message to member.

The NRA is also sending personnel to gun shows to help to mobilize gun owners to voice their opposition.

Since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, last month, the organization has added 100,000 new members, bringing its total membership to 4.2 million, NRA officials told CNN. Because of the increased attention on the issue, the officials think they will soon hit 5 million.

The NRA was one of the groups representing gun owners that met with Biden and his group Thursday afternoon.

After the session, the group issued a statement, saying "this task force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners … it is unfortunate this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems."

A White House official did not comment on the meeting other than to say it lasted just over an hour and a half.

Biden earlier in the day told a separate meeting of his working group, this one with victims' groups and gun safety organizations, that "there's got to be some common ground here, not to solve every problem, but diminish the probability that … these mass shootings will occur and diminish the probability that our children are at risk in our schools."

Keene told CNN's "The Situation Room" that one area where he thought the group and the Obama administration could possibly find some common ground was on the need for background checks. However, he said he did not support instituting them at gun shows. Currently buyers at gun shows do not have to undergo the same background checks as buyers at gun stores.

Filed under: Gun rights • NRA
soundoff (523 Responses)
  1. jp

    I'm not wastein my breath on here..dont trust CNN..

    January 11, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Someone said after the deadly shootings in Connecticut, doing nothing is not an option and I couldn't agree more. Furthermore, do we need our country to be transformed into a society where soccer moms dropping off their kids to school are wearing a six shooter or an assault weapon to ensure their kids safety? I doubt it.

    January 11, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Name64daBlonde

    The Right to bear arms was created in a time when it was necessary to protect your homes and property from thieves...it was NOT meant to be interpreted as "I can have ANY gun I want"! There is NO reasonable reason for private citizens to own Automatic and semi-auto weapons.....using this ammendment for the purpose it was CREATED FOR is the only thing that needs to be addressed....too many people misinterpret it and use it as a means to get whatever weapons they WANT, not NEED.

    January 11, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Fair is Fair


    The citizens of the U.S.A. should definitely have the right to have a pistol or rifle for protection in their homes and one or two rifles for hunting purposes....there is NO lucid reason on Earth to own automatic or semi-automatic weapons on the premise of protection
    Once again, I have 2 handguns – an S&W .38 revolver, and a 9 MM Glock. Both of these are "semi-automatic". You're telling me I have "no lucid reason on earth" to own these hand guns?

    January 11, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. Anonymous

    at california gary, the AR in AR15 stand for armlite, the company that designed the weapon. same as AK in AK47.

    January 11, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Jimmy Maher

    Then you are free to go buy one at Wal-Mart and/or develop one.

    January 11, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. bill

    This issue is not about the 2nd Amendment, gun rights or even a more secure America as the NRA would have you believe. This is only about gun manufacturers and the NRA protecting their own economic interests. These guys would love nothing more than for every man, woman and child to carry an assault rifle like they do in Syria, the Middle East, etc... And we all know how more guns has contributed to the safety of those societies, not.

    January 11, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. I will wait

    Let them become more visible, so far everyone they have put in front of a camera looks like a crazed person with no logic to their thinking and just mumbling about a militia. I think it is important we see their faces and know their names so that we are all aware of the crazy people in charge at the NRA. Don't forget, their last real national spokesman was Charelston Heston, and he had dementia while making his statements.

    January 11, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. Lisa P.

    Tom Hansen

    ... People talking about confiscating guns are not living in the real world...

    January 11, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am

    Exactly. And yet that's all the supposedly "responsible" gun owners posting here seem to want to talk about - their distopian fantasies. How about proposing some real world ideas for separating the "responsible" gun owners from the "irresponsible" gun owners, and keeping the latter from obtaining even more, ever more powerful and destructive firearms? 'Cause I can tell you, from out here in the real world, the NRA's perpetual stream of hot air and macho "rights" spin has been even less effective than Chicago's handgun ban in doing anything to improve the situation. If anything the NRA is encouraging the extremists and the crazies, as far as I can see. "Responsible" gun owners need to step up to the plate and start talking reasonable regulation or lose their place at the table and be stuck with the results. We've already had one massacre too many.

    January 11, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. Smeagel4T

    There are NRA lackies passing false information in these comment sections. It absolutely is NOT necessary for anyone to go through a background check when buying a gun from a "private individual". You can find these "private individuals" selling at gun shows and you can even arrange to meet them in a parking lot.

    What happens is that plenty of gun dealers who want to make money without any regard for who they are selling to simply function as "private individuals". Mayors Against Illegal Guns has a series of videos where they had somebody go buy guns from dealers who will meet you at a parking lot and complete the transaction out the back of their car. In the videos, the buyer very deliberately asks the seller whether he needs to go through a background check, and the seller assures him it is not necessary. In some of the videos, the buyer even TELLS the seller "that's good, because I'd never be able to pass a check", and the seller continues to sell the guy the gun.

    January 11, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. al

    The problem with the NRA is that they think they are the god and master and can just push the government around. They would be better served trying to do something positive. All the NRA has become is the lobby for the firearms industry rather than promoting responsibility and safety like they originally did. They are extremists of the worst kind. I support gun ownership and have some myself but we need to address these issues and some limitations need to be imposed. Why cannot the NRA do something to help instead of their constant campaign to hurt?

    January 11, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. JohnParryJones

    The Obama administration has wanted to clamp down on guns for a long time. Regrettably it uses Newtown as a catalyst. Shameful. Regulate madmen, monsters, thugs and criminals all you want. But don't try to regulate me. I am a responsible gun owner. And I vote.

    January 11, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  13. JPS

    @ California Gary

    I didn't see the response so in answer to your question, "AR" is the designation for "Armalite Rifle" which was the first company to mass produce the weapons platform that evolved into the AR-15. The military version of this platform was designated the M-16, whereas the civilian version (what the media commonly refers to as "Assault Rifle") was designated AR-15 many many moons ago. There are many differences between the two but the most obvious is the selectable fire feature on the military version (ie 3 round burst, or the outdated full auto) which has been banned from civilian hands since 1934 under the National Firearms Act, unless of course you get licensed by the ATF to own such a weapon which is long and painstaking. Hope this answered your question

    January 11, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. sifto

    you people who say no one "needs" a high capacity weapon...who needs a "killer high speed car"? oh, yes, people just "want" them!

    January 11, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. Dma

    here is a good reason to have a semi-auto, by the way, some of the inner streets of our cities are even worse!
    Tell the people on the Mexican border that they have no right to a semi-automatic weapon. They have to have some thing to defend themselves, and a bolt action 270 will not stand up long to the guns our own gov't gave the drug cartel down there.

    January 11, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. Truth316kk

    The woman that shot the guy in GA, shot him 5 times and he still managed to get in his car and drive away. With that .38 revolver with only 6 shots. Facing a few more attackers and she an her kids would've been dead. This criminals now are juiced up on LSD, Bath Salts, and many other drugs that makes them really not human. So I'll take my AR-15 and have a better chance at defending myself incase I need more than 6 shots.

    January 11, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. dave c

    at californai gary, the ar stand for armlte, the company that designed the weapon. same as the ak in ak47 was named after its designer Mikhail Kalashnikov

    January 11, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. mshare

    I don't remember electing the NRA to any public office. I don't remember the NRA being on any ballot to represent Americans interests in government. I don't remember Americans getting to vote the NRA into office somehow How is they have so much say in what is happening in our country? They're like a fourth arm of government.. The President, Congress, the Supreme Court....and the NRA!!!! Enough! The NRA has TOO MUCH power in this country.

    January 11, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. bill

    Gun control is NOT the same as prohibiting Americans from owning guns. There is no good reason for people to own assault rifles, but if they do there should certainly be way more stringent guidelines and tracking of those types of weapons. More guns ARE NOT the answer and if certain conservative right wing extremist terrorist doomsday preppers want a more heavily armed society then they should get the hell out of America and move to a country with gun laws more their liking such as Syria.

    January 11, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Daniel

    California Gary. The AR in AR-15 doesn't stand for assault rifle. It stands for Armalite the company that first developed the AR-15

    January 11, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Just Dumb

    I see so many posts saying handguns are ok but semi-automatic guns are not. Do these anti-gun folks understand handguns can be semi-automatic? Semi-Automatic just means that you do not have to 'cock' the gun between shots. You can shoot as quick as your finger can keep pulling the trigger.

    January 11, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Name

    Semi autos are the evolution of firearms. To ban them would be like banning 4 to 6 speed autos and go back to 1 to 3 speed manuals because speed kills. We can't go back to single shot but embrace stricter gun checks.

    January 11, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. JohnNelson

    1. Violent crime – including violent crime using guns – has dropped massively over the past 20 years.
    The violent crime rate – which includes murder, rape, and beatings – is half of what it was in the early 1990s. And the violent crime rate involving the use of weapons has also declined at a similar pace.
    2. Mass shootings have not increased in recent years.
    Despite terrifying events like Sandy Hook or last summer’s theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, mass shootings are not becoming more frequent. “There is no pattern, there is no increase,” says criminologist James Allen Fox of Northeastern University, who studies the issue. Other data shows that mass killings peaked in 1929.
    3. Schools are getting safer.
    Across the board, schools are less dangerous than they used be. Over the past 20 years, the rate of theft per 1,000 students dropped from 101 to 18. For violent crime, the victimization rate per 1,000 students dropped from 53 to 14.
    4. There Are More Guns in Circulation Than Ever Before.
    Over the past 20 years, virtually every state in the country has liberalized gun ownership rules and many states have expanded concealed carry laws that allow more people to carry weapons in more places. There around 300 million guns in the United States and at least one gun in about 45 percent of all households. Yet the rate of gun-related crime continues to drop.

    January 11, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. Hart

    Democrats have most of the cards right now and public sentiment is naturally not good for guns after Sandy. With that said and as much as we know now whatever comes from Biden is not going to be good for gun owners. I think confiscation would be a little overboard even though they would love it- it won't happen. But I do think there will be restictions so if you want a gun that is being demonized by libs and the press – BUY IT NOW. I would not wait because whatever they cannot restrict they will use legal means against manafacturers to undermine like happened to tobacco.

    January 11, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. Dave

    @California Gary: The "AR" designation applied to rifles is not an acronym for "assault rifle", as you imply. It refers to ArmaLite, the company that designed what were coined "survival rifles" and given the AR designation referring to the company's name.

    January 11, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21