"I absolutely reject everything the NRA is putting out," ex-member says

NEW YORK -- The latest poll from Quinnipiac University shows two thirds of Americans now support stricter gun laws, including half of gun owners. That's the highest level of support ever measured.

A hunter since he was a kid, and a Marine for 20 years, Joe Plenzler was a proud member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). That's until he saw an ad last year that targeted opponents of the gun rights group.

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Joe Plenzler says he rejected the NRA after seeing one of their ads

CBS News

"I'm a Second Amendment supporter and I absolutely reject everything the NRA is putting out right now," Plenzler said.

He gave up on the group, who counts 5 million members. But he didn't give up on the idea of finding common ground.

"I think if you ask an single American, gun owner or non-gun owner, they want to make sure that their families are safe and protect their families and they want to have safe communities to live in," he said.

"I always find that there's far more agreement in this country on the gun issue than you could possibly imagine," said Richard Feldman, a former NRA lobbyist. "But we never ask the right questions first."

Feldman now runs the Independent Firearm Owners Association.

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Richard Feldman

CBS News

"Who here thinks it's a good idea for violent, predatory felons, crazed, emotionally charged lunatics and unsupervised juveniles to have access to guns?" Feldman said. "No one ever raises their hand and says, 'Yeah, that's a good idea.'"

A gun rights advocate for more than 30 years, Feldman thinks as long as their Second Amendment rights are protected, many of the 75 million gun owners in the U.S. are actually open to some restrictions.

"I've always said that when people said, 'Well, you're against gun control,' I'd go, 'That depends.' I'm in favor of gun control laws that are intended to -- and, in fact, do -- keep guns out of those three identified groups' hands," Feldman said.

Feldman is among those who believe the emotions in the wake of the Parkland shooting will fade in terms of affecting public policy.

  • Jim Axelrod

    Jim Axelrod is the senior national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for "CBS This Morning," the "CBS Evening News," "CBS Sunday Morning," and other CBS News broadcasts.