WASHINGTON - The subject of guns and gun control shot to near the top of the U.S. agenda following the recent mass killing of school children in the eastern state of Connecticut. Since then, U.S. President Barack Obama has made it a high priority and one likely to get time during his upcoming State of the Union address.
In a country where the tradition of gun ownership goes back to the founding of the nation, any talk of taking guns away triggers an emotional reaction on both sides.
The push for new gun control measures stems from a series of recent shootings, including the massacre of 20 school children in Newtown, Connecticut and the July movie theater shooting in Colorado that left 12 dead.
President Obama has made clear, something has to change.
“Weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a movie theater. The majority of Americans agree with us on this," he said.
That has not gone over well with gun rights advocacy groups like the National Rifle Association, which has gone after the president with targeted ads.
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said, “Proposing more gun laws while failing to enforce the thousands we already have is not a serious solution for reducing crime. Nor do we believe that government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families.”
Still, gun dealer Andrew Raymond thinks change is inevitable.
"When you got 20 dead kids who are massacred it doesn't matter how much power the NRA has. It is almost a foregone conclusion that we are going to see some sort of legislation that will severely restrict these guns," he said.
All sides are now positioned for what looks to be a political firefight.