The symbiotic — and destructive — relationship between the National Rifle Association and congressional Republicans means the short-term legislative prognosis for any form of gun regulation is on the pessimistic side of nil.
Gun safety crusaders will consider it a victory if they derail current NRA-backed bills to deregulate gun silencers and allow anyone with a concealed carry permit to use it in any state.
But, as we have learned in this century, social change can occur with blinding speed, especially with the support of younger voters. At the turn of this century, few would have dared predict that in 2017, gay marriage would be the law of the land and marijuana would be legal in states from California to Maine.
The $52 million that the NRA spent in the 2016 campaign — with a whopping $30 million supporting Donald Trump — may someday be regarded as a lucky bet by an imperiled advocacy organization. In its shrill extremism, the NRA increasingly resembles 1950s Southern segregationists waging a last-ditch battle against the forces of integration and tolerance.
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