Barack Obama no match for US gun rights advocates
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President Barack Obama promised a grieving nation four months ago he would do everything in his power to change gun laws after 26 students and staff were shot to death at a Connecticut school.
But his power and the impassioned pleas of victims' families were no match for gun rights advocates in Congress and across the United States.
The National Rifle Association and its supporters overcame national outrage over the deaths of children 6 and 7 years old. The Senate on Wednesday rejected expanded background checks for gun buyers despite strong public support for the change, pleas from a former congresswoman still healing from a gunshot to the head and a campaign bankrolled by the billionaire mayor of New York City.
Obama's political machine that won two elections couldn't translate its grassroots power to win the gun vote. Obama, angry over the defeat, has vowed to fight on. And the NRA says it is taking him seriously.
"We are prepared for a very long war and a very expensive war,'' association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said Thursday.
The NRA's success is built on the passion of gun advocates, activists on both side of the debate agree. That's how they were able to defeat expanded background checks despite polling that shows up to 90 percent of Americans support the idea.
"You know what I hear from the members of Congress?'' said Vice President Joe Biden. "I just met with one. He says, `Well that may be true, Joe, but that 10 percent who doesn't agree, they are going to show up. They're going to show up and vote, Biden said during a Google Plus online chat Wednesday.
Arulanandam said he refers to NRA members as "super volunteers'' who work on political campaigns and get to know lawmakers personally so their voices are even more powerful.