The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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May 3, 2013

Fresh off victory, NRA holds convention in Houston

(Continued)

AUSTIN, Texas —

"The NRA knows this issue is very much in play. People were sickened by that Senate vote," Everitt said.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, has said he will re-introduce the bill to require criminal and mental health background checks for gun buyers at shows and online. And despite their loss on the federal level, gun control advocates have scored some significant victories at the state level.

Colorado lawmakers passed new restrictions on firearms, including required background checks for private and online gun sales and a ban on ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. Connecticut recently added more than 100 firearms to the state's assault weapons ban and now requires background checks for private gun sales.

Maryland and New York have passed sweeping new guns laws, and in Washington state, supporters of universal background checks recently announced a statewide campaign to collect 300,000 signatures to put the issue straight to voters.

"There have been significant victories (at the state level). We expect that to continue and we're not giving up on the federal level," Everitt said.

John Ridlehuber, a gun dealer from Lott, Texas, a rural hamlet of about 700 people, said NRA members see no room for compromise on new gun restrictions. Gun rights advocates have given up far too much ground over the years, he said.

"We have capitulated in far too many places. We should never give anything up again," Ridlehuber said. "We're not the bad guys. We're the good guys."

___

Associated Press writer Alan Fram in Washington contributed to this report.

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