The National Rifle Association has gone uncommonly dark since the weekend shootings here. A posting on its Web site expresses sympathies for the victims of the violence, and N.R.A. officials said they would have nothing to say until the funerals and memorial services were over.After admitting that not even most Democrats are keen to buck the popularity of the Second Amendment, the Times returned to the silent NRA theme.
In Washington, bills were being drafted to step up background checks, create no-gun zones around members of Congress and ban the big-volume magazines that allowed the Tucson gunman to shoot so many bullets so fast. Gun control advocates say they believe the shock of the attack has altered the political atmosphere, in no small part because one of the victims is a member of Congress.
Yet gun rights advocates and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said Thursday that there was little chance the attack would produce significant new legislation or a change in a national culture that has long been accepting of guns. If anything, they said, lawmakers are less receptive than ever to new gun restrictions.
The N.R.A. has kept such a low profile that its normally accessible executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, declined to comment. "At this time, anything other than prayers for the victims and their families would be inappropriate," said Andrew Arulanandam, the director of public affairs. But gun advocates said the fact that the group was holding back reflected a calculation that the prospects of gun control legislation passing in Congress have not changed much.
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