In an interview with the Huffington Post, National Rifle Association president David Keene says that "Gun control advocates were ready" for the Newtown school massacre.
"Gun control advocates were ready," Keene tells the liberal website. "Newtown gave them the chance to do just that. They launched their current anti-gun campaign even before the kids and teachers who died in that tragedy had been buried. [Democratic] Senator [Dianne] Feinstein [of California], who had her new assault weapons bill in a drawer, pulled it out. The president and vice president went after guns. Their question was not 'What can we do to prevent gun crime or mass murders?' but 'What can we do about guns?'"
Keene says that he believes (and always believed) the gun issue was a big part of the 2012 election, even if it didn't seem like it at the time:
Keene, LaPierre and others worked to put gun rights front and center during the 2012 GOP primaries (Mitt Romney lamely bragged about hunting "varmints") and in congressional and local races.
The NRA and the GOP have lost ground, of course. After Newtown, surveys show that nine in 10 voters favor "universal" background checks. But the NRA remains a fearsomely focused force on the Hill, and in late March GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas -- two stars of the conservative movement -- vowed to block even a background check measure from coming to a vote.
"Wayne and I had both warned that if the president were to win a second term," Keene said, "it would be but a matter of time before he launched an assault on private firearms ownership. And that is what has happened."