In the latest debate on guns, a hobbled NRA takes a backseat

In the latest debate on guns, a hobbled NRA takes a backseat

(CNN)As Congress debates new legislation on firearm restrictions in the wake of two high-profile mass shootings, the National Rifle Association is playing a diminished role. But thanks to years of shedding its claim to bipartisanship and aligning almost entirely with the Republican Party, the country’s premier pro-gun lobby’s agenda has firmly planted its agenda within the GOP, a legacy that continues to frustrate efforts to change gun laws. Once a powerful group respected or feared on both sides of the aisle, financial and legal problems in recent years have hobbled the NRA’s ability to shape the political conversation around gun ownership and the Second Amendment. Neither the NRA nor its public face, executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, have made policy statements about the deadly shootings in Georgia and Colorado, beyond citing a "longstanding rule to wait for all the facts" before making such statements. And even while the possibility of passing the latest batch of gun-control bills remains remote — with a closely divided Senate and while the filibuster rule remains in place — the NRA is no longer the dominant voice against reforms it once was. Both Republican and Democratic aides have told CNN the NRA has not been much of a factor on Capitol Hill in recent months. Just this week, no one from the organization appeared at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on new bills passed by the House expanding background checks for private gun purchases — unlike in January 2013 when LaPierre appeared at a […]

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