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WASHINGTON-The stunning U.S. House defeat last week of a $33 billion anti-crime bill came amid a major National Rifle Association offensive that began with TV and radio spots in early summer and will conclude with a spray of political ads this fall.

"We will take a hard look this fall at how to use our resources because we don't have a bottomless pit of money," said Tanya Metaska, executive director of the NRA's political arm. "It'll depend on how races develop, how we see our interests being served and what expenditures give us the biggest return on investment."

Based on its 1992 efforts, the NRA is expected to make its ad presence felt with hard-hitting radio and print ads.

The NRA began to ratchet up its voice with a TV show starring President Wayne LaPierre June 25 on cable superstation WWOR; by satellite via National Empowerment Television, the conservative satellite/cable channel; and on 21 major market TV stations. The show is titled "Guns, Crime & Freedom"-the same title as Mr. LaPierre's new book.

The program will air again later this month in 70 markets, said its producer, Tom Edmonds, president of Edmonds Associates, who does the bulk of the NRA's ads. A radio version aired June 26 on about 100 stations in 14 states.

In addition to production costs, the NRA spent more than $100,000 for ads in USA Today, Roll Call and TV Guide to promote the town meeting-like program.

And in what might be the group's piece de resistance, a package bursting with NRA materials and similar in appearance to a pistol case is being shipped to some 2,500 political candidates/sympathizers-federal, state and local. At a cost of $40 a pop, the slick kits-and accompanying $100,000 costs-testify to the NRA's determination to assault its enemies.

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