Is the National Rifle Association beginning to lose its clout? (+video)
A major gun rights group has announced its support for a compromise Senate measure that would expand background checks on gun buyers. The National Rifle Association continues to oppose such checks even though most NRA members support them.
Is the National Rifle Association – the political bulwark against any gun-control legislation – beginning to lose its influence?Skip to next paragraph
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It’s way too soon to declare the powerful NRA on the wane. Its approval is still eagerly sought by many lawmakers who tout their high ranking by the organization.
But in the wake of recent mass shootings that have shocked the nation, many gun-rights advocates – including many NRA members – are shifting in favor of stricter gun-safety measures.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which boasts 650,000 members and supporters, is backing compromise legislation in the Senate that would expand background checks on gun buyers.
That proposal – put forth by Sens. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia and Pat Toomey (R) of Pennsylvania, both NRA members and gun owners – would expand background checks on firearms transactions at gun shows and for online sales.
“We decided to back it because we believe it is the right thing to do,” Julianne Versnel, the Citizens Committee’s director of operations, told The Washington Post.
So do most Americans, including most NRA members. According to a CBS/New York Times poll earlier this year, 92 percent of Americans and 85 percent of those living in a household with an NRA member support universal background checks on gun buyers. Other polls put NRA backers of background checks at about 75 percent.
In another development Sunday, Sen. Susan Collins, (R) of Maine, announced that she, too, will back the Manchin-Toomey proposal. (Earlier, Sen. Mark Kirk (R) of Illinois indicated his support for the compromise measure, which does not apply to gun exchanges between family members.)