Gun control lobby grabs window of opportunity

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The gun control debate has heated up since the Newtown massacre -- where 20 children were shot with an automatic rifle -- but will anything change?
CBS News

(CBS News) Gun control advocates have their work cut out for them as they up the pressure and try to increase their influence in Washington D.C.

CBS News political director John Dickerson spoke to Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell on "CBS This Morning" Tuesday about where things stand and the likelihood of these advocates of getting anything to change.

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The gun control lobby is trying to rally new support by reminding people of situations like the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., where six people were killed and 18 others shot; Aurora, Colo., where 12 people died and 58 shot; and Newtown, Conn., where 26 people were killed in an elementary school, 20 of them children.

"When you talk to people who have been working with the Biden task force... they say they have about 30 days after one of these massacres before public opinion starts to go back to other kinds of issues," Dickerson said. "So, they're trying to grab that window to make something different this time."

Dickerson said their strategy is to take the awful nature of the most recent mass shooting and try to break the National Rifle Association's membership apart.

"To argue that the NRA membership is different than the leadership of the NRA," he said.

Also, advocates want gun dealers to join them in with some of the issues they want to get passed -- like background checks or bans on high-capacity magazine clips.

"To try to break apart the coalition that's been so hard to break apart over these last years," he said.

As Vice President Joe Biden's task force on gun control meets this week to discuss new gun regulations, Dickerson said gun control advocates believe that "something has changed."

"When you talk to people who have been in these meetings, they say that it's a broad series of things they're discussing," he said. "The key question: What's President Obama going to do? He can keep something on the agenda. And that's really the big question all these folks are waiting to see answered."

To watch the full interview with John Dickerson, click on the video player above.