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House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, acknowledged that a majority of lawmakers in both chambers agree with NRA positions, but he insisted that those members of Congress do not “feel obligated to the NRA.”

“I don’t think [gun lobbyists] have gotten what they want, any time they want it,” he told reporters at the Capitol last week. He said the recent NRA victories were all on the edges of the gun-law debate.

Attaching pro-gun amendments to bills unrelated to firearms laws, Mr. Hoyer said, is a strategy with significant limitations, especially under House rules that require an amendment to be germane to the underlying bill.

Still, there are signs that the influence of anti-gun groups on Democrats has been waning for years.

In the 2000 Democratic presidential primary, Vice President Al Gore and former Sen. Bill Bradley vied for the title of “gun-control candidate.” But by the time Mr. Gore emerged as the nominee, he largely dropped the gun-control rhetoric for the general election campaign.

In 2004, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry was posing with shotgun in hand at an Ohio duck hunt to improve his electoral odds. And last year, as Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton vied for the party’s presidential nomination, they crisscrossed Pennsylvania and the West competing to be the most gun-loving Democrat on the ballot.

“I think there is a realization that it is bad politics to be on the wrong side of the gun issue,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said. “Politicians realize that whether they are on Capitol Hill or in state legislatures or in governors’ mansions … that American voters are lined up with the National Rifle Association.”

He said the group must continue to counter powerful opposition in the highest levels of government, including calls to renew an assault-weapon ban coming from Mrs. Clinton, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat.

The Brady Campaign’s Mr. Helmke said the current political climate probably marks a “high tide” for the NRA.

“They know the White House is not going to be giving them any of the proactive things they want,” said Mr. Helmke, a Republican who was mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind., for 12 years before joining the gun-control fight full time.

He predicted an eventual political “backlash” against loosening firearms laws. He said he hoped the shift would coincide with White House-backed legislation expected in the fall that would mandate background checks at gun shows and crack down on corrupt firearms dealers and illegal gun trafficking.

But as the administration and Democratic lawmakers mull new firearms restrictions, polls continue to show that most voters don’t want more gun-control laws.

A CNN poll last month showed that 39 percent of Americans favor stricter gun laws, a number that has been steadily on the decline since the 1990s. The poll also found that about 46 percent of Americans do not want changes to current gun laws, and 15 percent want gun laws made less restrictive.