Gun-control advocates like the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence have long been critical of the NRA, but some lawmakers who also back more stringent gun control have been reluctant to lash out at the NRA until the recent shootings at Newtown, Conn.
After the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting, when a gunman armed with an AR-15, two Glock pistols and a shotgun, killed 12 and wounded 70 others, even Feinstein lamented that it was a "bad time" to press for gun control.
She has since changed her tone, but her previous reluctance to tackle the issue shows just how powerful the NRA is in derailing any opposition gun ownership.
President Obama announced last week that he was creating a task force headed by Vice President Biden to offer workable policy solutions to the problem of gun violence by the end of January.
The president will likely face an uphill battle, as any proposed legislation will have to make its way through the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by Republicans.
Many lawmakers, the president and the NRA have discussed a holistic solution that includes the examination potential problems with the mental health system in this country.
Mental health services have come under a great strain as local governments are forced to cut their budgets. As a result, the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors has estimated a loss of $4.35 billion to state funded mental health services.