President Obama's home state of Illinois won't be the first to approve post-Sandy Hook Elementary School gun control measures after all, thanks in part to the Second Amendment advocacy of the National Rifle Association.
The Illinois Senate pulled the plug on legislation to ban assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammo clips late Thursday, a stinging rebuke to Democrats and a wake-up call to the president and his supporters who think the Newtown, Conn. school child slayings will make it easy to pass gun control.
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told Secrets Friday, "This was the first of many challenges gun owners and hunters will face this year. We will face many more and we need to keep our focus on those upcoming challenges."
Gun advocates predict that the Illinois Senate will offer watered down legislation next year, likely limiting the number and types of guns to be restricted. "This is in no way a victory and nobody is doing a victory dance," said a state gun advocate. "This is a minor win and we have to keep on."
Public polls, meanwhile, show little change in the nation's support for gun control measures.
Lawmakers in Springfield, Ill. who support the measures said they lacked the support to win, in part because some members were absent.
Several other states are considering gun control measures, propelled by the school shootings, as is Obama and congressional Democrats. But foes said that the Illinois vote was a sign that the shootings haven't radically changed the political landscape to win new restrictions on guns.
One of the proposals before the Illinois senate would have restricted the possession, delivery, sale and transfer of semiautomatic weapons, including handguns and rifles.
The NRA said that would have taken 50 percent of long guns off the market and lead to massive layoffs.
Gun makers are making the same case in Washington, claiming that thousands would lose their jobs in an assault weapon ban.