In the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the National Rifle Association has been largely silent. But today, the NRA's top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, held a press conference, calling on Congress to put armed law enforcement agents in every American school. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," he said.
As America begins this new chapter in the gun control debate, we thought it would be useful to take a look back at how the NRA became the most powerful voice on gun policy in America. In 1977, 60 Minutes aired this two-part report on the National Rifle Association and its membership. Back then, the group's membership was a million strong. (Now, it's 4 million.) Although much has changed in the gun industry and in gun control policy since the late 70s, the story is a rare inside look at the NRA, how it operates, and what the group means to its members.
Part two of this report, below, is a look at the anti-gun lobby: it's the story of Nelson "Pete" Shields, a gun owner and NRA member who had a change of heart after his son Nick was murdered. In 1978, Shields became executive director of the National Council to Control Handguns, the predecessor to Handgun Control, and he played a major role in passing gun-control legislation in the 1980s.