In the wake of the mass shooting at the Virginia Tech University, many of the gun owners who voted for Donald Trump are expressing anger and disappointment that their elected representatives did not support their right to own guns and protect themselves and their families.
The NRA, for its part, has issued a statement stating that “the NRA has never supported any legislation restricting the right to keep and bear arms.”
The statement goes on to say that the NRA “will continue to urge lawmakers to pass legislation that provides adequate and sensible gun control, while also addressing other important public safety issues.”
This is not the first time the NRA has called for tighter gun control.
In 2016, the organization called for more restrictive gun control measures in a statement to the Associated Press.
“We need to do more to stop gun violence, but our country is at war with ISIS,” the statement said.
The organization has also supported restrictions on guns in states such as Connecticut, where the NRA was not permitted to hold a meeting with lawmakers.
Trump, who was elected in November, also supported tighter gun restrictions in 2016.
In the months leading up to the Virginia massacre, NRA-backed candidate and gubernatorial candidate Joe Manchin introduced a bill to limit magazine capacity and increase background checks.
“The gun lobby and other gun interests will do everything they can to prevent this legislation from passing,” Manchin said in a press release announcing the bill.
“If this bill passes, there will be many, many people who will die in America.”
While some of these comments are not particularly surprising, many NRA members are angry that their votes in favor of stricter gun control did not count as enough to make a difference in Congress.
“I just wanted to say I am not disappointed,” said Michael Smith, a retired law enforcement officer from Florida who is an NRA member.
“And that was the NRA saying, ‘If you are voting for us, you’re voting for the gun lobby, and you’re doing it because of us,'” he said.
“It’s like, I am the one who has been on the receiving end of that.”
In a statement on Monday, Manchin criticized the NRA and its supporters for their lack of action on gun control: “It is time to stop the gun grab by the NRA,” he said, “and I am proud to be a gun owner.”
Gun control advocates say that this does not bode well for the NRA.
“This is a problem with the NRA because we have never supported restrictions in the past,” said Stephen Miller, the former Trump campaign advisor and a former NRA member who now works as an adviser to the Trump administration.
“What the NRA did in 2016, and what they’re doing now, is to make it seem like they are going to support anything the gun industry says.
We’ve never had a position on this issue that we think is not going to have an impact on mass shootings.”
In the aftermath of the Virginia tragedy, a spokesperson for the National Shooting Sports Foundation said that the organization had no comment on the issue.
“These comments do not reflect the views of the NSSF, the NRA or its members,” said Shannon Watts, the NFS spokesperson.
“Our position remains consistent with the overwhelming consensus of the public on the need to protect gun owners from gun violence and the need for universal background checks to stop terrorists and criminals from getting their hands on firearms.”