gun

Facing its toughest fight over gun reform in decades, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has stumbled out of the gate.

The powerful gun-lobby group responded to last month’s Newtown, Conn., massacre with a defiant press conference calling for more guns in schools, then doubled down this week with an in-your-face web ad that drew President Obama’s young daughters into the fray.

To be sure, the NRA — which did not respond to a request to comment for this story — remains an enormous influence on Capitol Hill, and there’s no evidence its actions have increased the likelihood that Obama’s ambitious gun-reform agenda can move this year, even through the Democratically controlled Senate.

Yet the public relations missteps have given Obama an opening in the difficult fight by making him look like the more reasonable party, even as it has made the NRA look out of touch with mainstream thinking.

The NRA’s web ad in particular – which called President Obama an “elitist hypocrite” because he’s pushing tougher gun laws while his daughters receive armed protection – led Republicans to lash out at the group.

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