Last month, four months after the Newtown, Conn., shootings kicked off a renewed battle over U.S. gun laws, gun control advocates were dealt a devastating blow: After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, bipartisan dinners and personal presidential entreaties, the Senate voted down a measure that would have expanded background checks for U.S. gun buyers, scuttling the primary gun law thought to have a fighting chance to make it through at least one – if not two – bodies of Congress.
For pro-gun groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Gun Owners of America, both of which had been working hard behind the scenes to make sure the measure didn’t have sufficient support to gain Senate passage, the Senate’s actions marked a critical victory. The overarching Senate gun bill was tabled, and gun control advocates found themselves scrambling, after months of work on the so-called Manchin-Toomey compromise, to find a new path forward.
The extent to which the NRA and the gun lobby can take credit for the Senate vote is debatable, but as the NRA convenes Friday for its annual meeting in Houston, its message is clear: “Our theme here is stand and fight,” said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam, in an interview with CBSNews.com. “From our perspective, this is not over. This is a fight that will take years. And what happened a couple of weeks ago [in the Senate] was the first battle in what will be many battles. But we’re prepared for a very long and extensive war.”
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