When thinking about the Newtown massacre and the National Rifle Association (NRA), it's worth remembering a few things:
1. Institutions can change. The NRA has become an implacable foe of gun control but that doesn't mean it will always be. There could be glasnost in the NRA Kremlin, a recognition that the world has changed. It's not a perfect analogy by any means but auto companies opposed seat belts and then accepted them as standard equipment. They fought air bags and then accepted them.
2. Hunters might triumph over the automatic crowd. At some point, it's possible that hunters will feel less threatened by the spectre of gun control laws and be willing to assert themselves more. Of course, hunters are no more monolithic than "drivers" or "students" but they may not see themselves as having a vested interest in enormous magazines.
3. The NRA supported the 1934 Firearms Act, aimed at "gangster weapons" and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 which prohibited interstate trade in handguns. Could the NRA be persuaded to support something to curtail the easy availability of guns of mass destruction? Right now, it's inconceivable. In a year?
4. Another organization could rise. There's already a group to the NRA's right, the Gun Owners of America. So why couldn't a moderate group rise up? Unlikely now but hardly impossible to imagine.
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