The National Rifle Association will try to remain relevant in the 2012 presidential election, with a Democratic president who has not made gun control a priority and many NRA members expecting gun issues to take a back seat to the economy, health care, and foreign policy, the Washington Post reports. At the group's annual meeting in Pittsburgh this weekend, NRA leaders and potential Republican candidates warned members again and again from the stage that a second term would give President Obama free rein to restrict gun rights.
“What do you lose if President Obama wins?” asked NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox. “You tell me. What if he appoints just one more anti-gun justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, and we go from one-vote victories to one-vote defeats for generations to come. What's that going to cost?” On the convention floor, amid dozens of stalls exhibiting hunting gear, high-powered binoculars, and guns of every size and shape, NRA members said they think issues other than guns are likely to drive the vote. “I'd be surprised if they're an issue at all,” said Steve Miller, 61, a photographer and competitive pistol shooter from Harrisburg, Pa. “The Democrats spent all their fire on health care, and now, nobody will touch guns. If they do, it's a death knell.”