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Surprise: The NRA has actually lost influence on gun control

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona, earlier this month, the calls for gun-control legislation have already begun. But the National Rifle Association's traditional ability to shoot these bills down may be significantly reduced in the future.

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After the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, when 32 people were slaughtered by a mentally disturbed young man wielding two semi-automatic pistols, calls for enhanced gun control were met with a warning from Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Sen. Reid cautioned against a “rush to judgment” about new gun laws.

But after the Arizona shooting of last week, gun control measures are being discussed again, and Mr. Reid hasn’t said anything cautious.

Why the change?

The National Rifle Association was one of the big losers of the 2010 midterm elections.

This is so, even though 85 percent of its endorsed candidates won, and the percentage of gun-loving Senators and House members rose after the election.

The difference is that the NRA can no longer claim to be anything but an appendage of the Republican Party.

Arizona shooting: US has lots of guns, but it's not alone

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