The Washington Times - January 19, 2011, 06:36PM

The National Rifle Association generally has kept a low profile in the days since the Tucson, Ariz., shooting rampage this month that killed six and wounded 14, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. But the group has begun to push back at congressional proposals to tighten gun laws, warning lawmakers not to chip away at gun rights.

“Even while our country was respecting the heartache of the people of Tucson and waiting for the full facts of the case, anti-gun activists were renewing their push for more gun control laws,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, in a Wednesday letter to members of Congress.


“Indeed, gun control advocates were quick to push several schemes,” Cox said.

Cox was particularly critical of a joint proposal by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York — both Democrats — to bar the manufacture and sale of high-capacity ammunition clips like the one used by Arizona shooting suspect Jared Loughner.

“These magazines are standard equipment for self-defense handguns and other firearms owned by tens of millions of Americans,” Cox wrote.

Cox also called out Republican Rep. Peter King of New York for his plan to ban firearms within 1,000 feet of members of Congress and other high-ranking federal officials.

“Obviously, this proposal would be ignored by anyone who intends to harm a government official,” he said. “But it would impose extraordinary burdens on honest gun owners, creating potentially hundreds of square miles of roving ‘gun free’ areas throughout the United States.”