Today's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. happened in the shadow of the headquarters of one of the biggest gun lobbies in the country: the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is just three miles away from the school. The NSSF pales in both stature and power to the NRA, but they still actively work to ease laws and regulations for gun owners and supporters.

Lydia DePillis of The New Republic reports that the NSSF has spent over $500,000 in 2012 on pro-gun lobbying (compared to the NRA's $2.2 million), most of which went to a D.C. lobbyist.

The lion's share of that went to Patrick Rothwell, the group's director of government relations, who served for three years as chief of staff to the House Republican Policy Committee. He spent a lot of time this year working on legislation that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating chemicals in gun ammunition and fishing equipment, and the organization has backed a slew of concealed-carry bills.

DePillis also reports that the NSSF spent $26,000 this campaign season and is frequently consulted by reporters writing facile "he said, she said" stories to give a pro-gun point of view. The foundation takes in $26 million per year and its CEO makes over $300,000 per year.

The NSSF's location in Newtown is an incidental coincidence, of course, but an unfortunate one nonetheless in light of today's events.

[via The New Republic, image via Getty]