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Some Second Amendment Groups Opposing Federal Gun Control Bill

When it comes to the negotiations taking place on Capitol Hill after a spate of mass shootings, Congress’s most outspoken proponents of gun control and the devoted cadre of hard-line Second Amendment activists battling against them agree on virtually nothing. Still, both sides say that passing even modest new federal restrictions on firearms could be a watershed moment in the long-running battle over the constitutional right to bear arms, the Washington Post reports. Senate negotiators may agree on measures that could pave the way for new state laws allowing authorities to seize guns from troubled individuals, expand background checks for some gun buyers, and disqualify a larger group of domestic-violence offenders from being able to purchase firearms. Some hard-line gun rights groups have taken up firm positions against the bill.

The largest and best-funded players in the gun-rights orbit appear to be keeping their options open, especially the National Rifle Association (NRA). After the framework was released Sunday, the group said it would await legislative text before weighing in. “The NRA will continue to oppose any effort to insert gun control policies, initiatives that override constitutional due process protections and efforts to deprive law-abiding citizens of their fundamental right to protect themselves and their loved ones into this or any other legislation,” it said. That statement and a lack of visible engagement on the bill has left many on Capitol Hill unsure about role the group intends to play as the Senate moves forward, with leaders aiming to pass a bill as soon as next week. The NRA was key in rallying gun owners against the last major bipartisan push for gun control, in the months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, and has beaten back many other initiatives since then. Already there are signs that the Republicans involved in the group are trying to minimize any backlash from gun rights advocates. Some say a nuanced, approach could be in the NRA's interest. Allowing small changes to move forward, the thinking goes, could help convince the public that the GOP is somewhat willing to embrace reforms, helping to elect more officeholders inclined to resist broader gun control in the future.


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