US gun control movement tries to shed reputation

WASHINGTON - Even before the mass shooting on Friday at a Connecticut elementary school, gun control advocates were making a furious push to convince US lawmakers that their long-ignored issue was a political winner.
Their argument was that support for restrictive new laws is not a career-ender for politicians and that they might even benefit at the polls by opposing the pro-gun rights National Rifle Association.
Gun control groups are attempting to turn upside-down the politics of guns after nearly two decades in which the pro-gun rights lobby has effectively blocked any major new gun restrictions. A ban on certain semiautomatic rifles known as assault weapons was allowed to expire in 2004.