Sometimes, even when those constituents vocally advocate for stricter gun control laws, they find themselves outmatched.
Rob "Biko" Baker, executive director of the League of Young Voters, a group which targets non-college, minority youth and encourages them to vote, said he remembers the NRA showing up at a community meeting with the families of gun violence victims in the predominantly black and urban north side of Milwaukee.
"It was on MLK Drive and they showed up two-to-one. They showed up with the slick talking. We knew they were going to come deep, but we thought we were going to out organize them," Baker said.
Ultimately, the measure Baker's group was pushing --- a proposal to require background checks of all gun purchases --- failed to even get out of committee in the Wisconsin statehouse.
"We were making a common sense argument that black men are being targeted," Baker said. "It was pretty disheartening. I've gotta walk the streets and talk to the mothers, and they still have open wounds."
Looking at the polls, the ones that President Obama pointed to as proof of the country's broad support for his agenda on gun control, doesn't tell the full story either.
"In every Quinnipiac University poll since the Newtown massacre, nationally and in six states, we find overwhelming support, including among gun owners, for universal background checks," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "American voters agree with the National Rifle Association, however, that these background checks could lead someday to confiscation of legally owned guns."
By a 48%-38% margin, voters in a Quinnipiac University survey said that the government could use the information from universal background checks to confiscate legally owned guns. And gun owners believe 53%-34% that the checks could lead to confiscation of legal guns. There's also a partisan divide on the question, with 61% of Republicans, 51% of independents and 32% of Democrats expecting confiscations.
The battleground of the states
As blue states like Colorado, Maryland and New York take on tougher restrictions on gun purchases and expand background checks, red states are considering pre-emptive laws to nullify a possible federal assault weapons ban.
The types of gun control measures that easily sailed through the state legislature in Maryland faced huge hurdles, sparked protests and even drew in such national players as Vice President Joe Biden and gun manufacturer Magpul Industries in Colorado.
Even as Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was signing into law stricter gun control measures, the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Group was giving away "a Winchester Super X Pump Marine Defender 12 Gauge Shotgun, courtesy of our friends at Cornerstone Arms in Colorado Springs" and several "Gen-M2 PMAGS" on its Facebook page.
"It's a promotional giveaway," said Dudley Brown, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. "It looked like there was a chance of banning semiautomatic assault rifles, so it was an in your face 'OK then we'll give them away then,'"
The group says it plans on giving away more guns and ammo between now and when the new laws take effect on July 1. They also are focusing on federal lawmakers they feel might cave to efforts to pass stricter gun control laws.
"There are a number of weak-willed Republicans in the House, and we don't want them to feel they have wind in their sails," Brown said. "We're going to make Republicans pay the price. We are going to hold them accountable for their votes. Nothing is going to be done in secret. The days of smoke-filled rooms where even the institutional gun lobbies cut deals is over."