NRA ramps up rhetoric as Obama, Biden rally gun control advocates

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks during the leadership forum at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting Friday, May 3, 2013 in Houston.
AP Photo/Steve Ueckert

(CBS News) At the National Rifle Association's annual meeting over the weekend, CEO Wayne LaPierre accused Democrats of exploiting family members of the Newtown shooting victims by enlisting them in the fight for tighter gun control legislation.

And former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palinaddressed the convention, saying that President Obama used the families as "backdrops" in gun-related speeches while she pushed NRA supporters to keep fighting against new gun laws.

"We're fighting the good fight. A fight for the Constitution. This is a fight for the future of freedom," Palin said.

As the NRArallied gun owners and supporters throughout the weekend, the president and vice president as well as gun control advocates in Congress scrambled to revive a new version of the legislation that failed in the Senate last month.

In his commencement address to graduates at Ohio State University on Sunday, President Obama called on new graduates at Ohio State University to join the efforts.

"To protect more of our kids from the horrors of gun violence," Obama said, "That requires the unwavering passion and the untiring resolve of citizens. It requires you."

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In an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle on Sunday, Vice President Biden argued that background checks are critical to gun safety and said he remains optimistic .

"In the end, I believe we will prevail. And those who wrote off gun safety legislation last month will come to realize that moment wasn't the end at all. It was the turning point," Biden wrote.

Still, lawmakers pushing for new gun safety measures -- including Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin -- remain realistic about the challenges ahead.

"We need to pick up five more votes," Durbin said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," "And that's quite a task, I might add, as whip in the Senate. But we can do this."