As President Donald Trump talks with lawmakers about gun reform and prepares to announce school safety proposals, NBC News has learned new details about the last major legislative push around gun safety in 2013 that offers a cautionary tale about Trump's strategy of relying on the NRA.
The NRA has a history of shrewd lobbying and willingness to walk away from any deal at the last minute. With President Barack Obama's support, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., began working with NRA senior leaders on a bill to tighten background checks for gun purchases. Yet even after getting much of what they'd asked for, the NRA rejected the bill anyway. The bill died on the Senate floor as many of the families of the slain schoolchildren looked on.
It's a failure that still haunts Manchin. Weeks after the bill's failure in 2013 and despite top ratings and campaign endorsements from gun rights advocates, the NRA began targeting Manchin with $100,000 in negative advertising, linking him to Obama and then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a strong gun control activist.
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There are few Republicans coming forward now to support major legislation even as the advocacy of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has sparked an unusual burst of blowback at the gun lobby. The NRA's influence over its members and lawmakers remains considerable.