The NRA isn’t in a chatty mood

THE NRA ISN’T IN A CHATTY MOOD…. This week, more than two months after the tragedy in Tucson, President Obama carefully made some moves towards initiating a conversation about gun policy. In his opening gambit, the president didn’t actually call for any new restrictions, and even reached out to the National Rifle Association, encouraging them to join a larger policy discussion.

The NRA soon returned with an answer: No.

More than two months after the Tucson shootings, the administration is calling together both the gun lobby and gun safety groups to find common ground. But President Obama has no plans to take the lead in proposing further gun control legislation, aides say, and the nation’s major gun rights group is snubbing the invitation.

On Tuesday, officials at the Justice Department will meet with gun control advocates in the first of what will be a series of meetings over the next two weeks with people on different sides of the issue, including law enforcement, retailers and manufacturers, to seek agreement on possible legislative or administrative actions. […]

But the National Rifle Association, for decades the most formidable force against proposals to limit gun sales or ownership, is refusing to join the discussion — possibly dooming it from the start, given the lobby’s clout with both parties in Congress.

NRA leader Wayne LaPierre said he’d refuse to talk to anyone who didn’t already agree with him. “Why should I sit down with a group of people who have spent their life fighting the Second Amendment?” he asked rhetorically.

None of this is especially surprising. At a certain level, it may seem a little surprising that an advocacy group would refuse a White House invitation to have a policy conversation, but from the NRA’s perspective, why bother? Or put another way, what’s there to talk about? The NRA’s answer to practically every question is the same, and if the president proposed an idea the NRA doesn’t like, the organization would simply kill it in Congress, whether it’s preceded by a conversation or not.

Sure, it may make the NRA look bad in the eyes of the American mainstream, but remember, the NRA doesn’t care if it looks bad. It’s not interested in good-faith talks, or trying to find common ground. It doesn’t care about giving the appearance of reasonableness.

The group has a purist line from which it will not budge. What’s more, the NRA is winning, and it knows it.

Of course it isn’t willing to have a discussion with the White House.