Gun-rights activists, policy experts and gun-control advocates interviewed by Reuters see the rise of the fundamentalists as a worry for the NRA leadership as it threatens the association’s ability to hold on to moderate supporters and to make compromises that might help fend off tougher gun control measures.
With the Democrats holding the House of Representatives again following the 2018 election, the NRA can expect to be pressured for additional concessions. Several legislators are promising congressional action on gun control amid the rash of mass shootings, which included an assault at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 worshippers in October and a late-night attack at a California bar that killed 12 people in November.
The association has allowed very tiny concessions to the gun control activists in the aftermath of recent mass shootings, and they have upset fundamentalist members as too conciliatory on gun rights.
A lone gunman in New Zealand killed at least 50 worshippers at a Christchurch mosque in March, and the country appears to be headed toward bipartisan determination to tighten gun controls. The possibility that U.S. lawmakers could be infected with bipartisanship on gun control looms as a new worry for the NRA, but of less immediate concern than the Connecticut Supreme Court ruling in March that gives victims of the 2012 mass shooting at the Sandy Hook school the right to sue the maker of the shooter’s weapon, Remington.
Reuters notes that opinion polls such as Gallup surveys show growing support for gun control in recent years. Within that trend, support for gun control typically spikes immediately after mass shootings, then falls closer to pre-massacre levels within a few months. Amid nationwide protests that followed a Florida high school shooting that killed 17 people in February 2018, the NRA endorsed strengthening background checks for gun purchasers and emergency protection orders that allow law-enforcement officials to temporarily take guns away from people deemed dangerous.
A political lobby that today claims five million members and is closely aligned with the Republican Party, the NRA supports pro-gun politicians. The organization is reported to have spent US $30 million to support Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. He made his fourth address to the NRA meeting in 2018, and is likely to do the same in 2019.
#22832 Updated: 03/19/2019 UPDATED MAR 18 TO INCLUDE NZ MOSQUE SHOOTING AND COURT DECISION THAT GUN MAKER CAN BE SUED