As far as the N.R.A. is concerned, Mr. Biden is an ideologue whose mind is already made up about the “conversation” he is now supposed to lead.

“This is somebody who’s bombastic and really does think that anybody who disagrees with him is not only wrong but crazy,” David Keene, the N.R.A. president, said in an interview. “That’s his style.”

Mr. Biden, he added, has not reached out to his group and has shown contempt for gun owners who value their Second Amendment rights. “His debate response and how he’s acted as a legislator indicates that he not only doesn’t understand it but doesn’t have any desire to understand it,” Mr. Keene said. “Joe is not a nuance character. He knows what he knows, and he doesn’t need to be told that other people think differently than he does.”…

Mr. Kaufman acknowledged that actually banning guns was difficult. As soon as one gun is outlawed, another pops up. But he argued that symbolism itself was important. “You send a message,” he said, “when you don’t do anything.”