A few hours after a young man shot dead 19 children and two teachers with a semi-automatic rifle at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Joe Biden turned to the Americans.

"When in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?" he called out to them.

But it wasn't America's biggest gun lobby that was the first to resent calls for tougher gun laws.

Sofia Dreisbach

North American political correspondent based in Washington.

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Prior to Biden's comments, Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz had opposed "restricting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens."

Stricter gun controls are not effective, Cruz said.

The next day, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton bemoaned the Democrats' "political agenda" of "restricting gun ownership for all."

That would have prevented "nothing".

The list of such statements goes on and on - from Republicans defending America's right to a gun even before the National Rifle Association (NRA) commented on it.

Just ten years ago, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut that killed 27, gun advocates had remained silent for a week before the NRA finally declared itself.

After the killing spree in Uvalde, on the other hand, the organization quickly joined the previous speakers in expressing their sympathy, but distancing themselves from stricter gun laws.

Above all, three days after the massacre, she unperturbed her first annual meeting since 2019 - in Houston, only about four hours by car from Uvalde.

So, was President Biden right in his call to finally stand up to the gun lobby?

Or is that no longer necessary given America's first gun law reform in almost thirty years, which could soon make it through Congress after the Uvalde shooting?

Last week, a negotiating group of Democrats and Republicans announced that they had agreed on various measures to protect against gun violence.

On Tuesday evening, the senators then voted 64 to 34 in favor of the draft law, which has now been formulated, being put to the vote.

That could mean that for the first time since the 1990s, not only the House of Representatives, but also the Senate will approve a gun rights bill and allow the President to sign the law into law.

However, the proposals fall far short of Biden's call to ban semi-automatic weapons and large magazines.

Instead, it envisages stricter checks on gun buyers under the age of 21 and financial aid for school safety and mental health.

The NRA condemned the Senate's historic move that same evening: The law could "be abused to restrict legitimate gun purchases" and "violate the rights of law-abiding Americans," the gun lobby wrote on Twitter.

"The NRA's ideology is boiling"

"Gun rights are bigger than the NRA," said Frank Smyth, journalist and author of the book NRA.

The Unauthorized Story".

Smyth has been writing about the organization for a quarter century, knowing every name, every scandal, every involvement.

If Smyth has his way, the question of the power of the NRA is not the decisive one.

The possible reform of the gun laws is a "small defeat" for the NRA, but in no way a turning point, says Smyth.

But the organization itself falters. In fact, the number of members is declining, and income is lower than it has been for 15 years.

Lawsuits also put the organization under financial pressure.

“But what is strong, stronger than ever, is the NRA's ideology,” says Smyth.

"She cooks.

It strikes flames like a witch's brew."

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