1977: A rare inside look at the NRA

In 1977, 60 Minutes aired this two-part story on the NRA, offering a rare window into America's most powerful voice on gun policy

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.

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