DENVER (CBS4) – The National Rifle Association is stepping up its attacks against proposed gun control measures.
The gun lobby is preparing to fight gun control legislation they thought they had already defeated. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, says he’ll push again to get a background checks bill through the Senate.
Both Colorado Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet say they’ll support the renewed effort.
NRA President David Keane took the stage at their annual convention to rail against renewed efforts in Congress to add more gun controls to federal laws.
“We’ve been under attack because they realize that to win they’d would have to take down the NRA, demonize gun owners, and convince the majority of our fellow citizens that we are the real problem,” Keane said.
The theme of this year’s convention is “Stand and Fight.” Nearly 80,000 members were estimated to attend over the weekend. Many are energized by the defeat of a Senate proposal to expand criminal and mental health background checks for gun buyers at shows and on the Internet. Leaders of the gun lobby call it winning the first battle in the war over gun control.
“By your very presence you’re sending a message to the president, Joe Biden, Dianne Feinstein, Andrew Cuomo, and Michael Bloomberg; and to all their friends in the media who have been claiming for months that you and America’s gun owners simply don’t count,” Keane said.
“I own guns, I enjoy shooting guns with my family, but I also believe in sensible gun laws,” gun control supporter Elvin Daniel said.
Background check supporters are lobbying at the convention as well. Daniel is an NRA member trying to correct rumors that the bill would create a national database of gun owners. It would not. He runs into a skeptical crowd.
“People don’t know the truth about what’s in these bills,” Daniel said. “Somebody needs to explain it to them.”
A CBS News/New York Times poll shows 88 percent of the country supports a national background checks bill. The NRA says Congress should focus on what they call a broken mental health system instead.