The National Rifle Association (NRA) has “turned the tide” on gun control efforts in Washington since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, but the “war” is not over, the gun lobby's outgoing president said Saturday.

Speaking to the NRA's annual members meeting in Houston, David Keene boasted that the Senate's defeat of background check legislation dealt Obama the “first major legislative defeat of his presidency.”

“That, my friends, is quite an accomplishment,” Keene said. “An accomplishment few of us would have predicted back in January.”

But he warned that the White House and congressional Democrats would continue to use the deaths of 20 elementary school students in the nation's most deadly school shooting. The group's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, echoed the sentiment, describing last month's Senate vote as “one skirmish in what can only be described a long war.”

“They use tragedy to try to blame us, to shame us into compromising our freedom for their political agenda,” he said.

He then went on to use the Boston bombings to make the case for broad gun rights, saying “frightened citizens” were “sheltered in place with no means to defend themselves.” “How many Bostonians wished they had a gun two weeks ago?” LaPierre said.

Obama vowed to continue his push for gun control during his trip to Mexico on Friday.

“Most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States,” he said. “I think many of you know that in America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms. And as president, I swore an oath to uphold that right, and I always will.

“At the same time, as I’ve said in the United States, I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common-sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. That can save lives here in Mexico and back home in the United States. It’s the right thing to do.”