PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The outlook for a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons prompted by the Newtown, Conn., school shooting appears to be dimming in Rhode Island as lawmakers enter the final weeks of their annual session.

Despite high-profile supporters such as Gov. Lincoln Chafee, House Speaker Gordon Fox and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, the proposed ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines remains stuck in committee. Lawmakers on both sides of the gun debate said opposition from gun owners and the National Rifle Association has hurt the proposal’s chances of passing this year.

Also in legislative limbo are proposals that would require firearm owners to pay a $100-per-gun registration fee and require all handgun permits to go through the Attorney General’s Office instead of local police.

“Not one of these bills would have prevented what happened in Newtown, and I think everyone realizes that,” said Darin Goens, the Rhode Island lobbyist for the NRA. “Hands down, it’s grassroots opposition that is working here. But as long as they’re in session, there’s a concern.”

Fox said he isn’t giving up on the bills, which were the result of collaboration between Chafee, Kilmartin and top lawmakers. But he acknowledged that they face significant opposition. He said he’s optimistic about the chances for other proposals to create a task force to review existing gun laws and the use of mental health records in background checks.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat this, there’s a strong gun lobby,” said Fox, D-Providence. “I’m still hopeful we’ll see something come out of it.”

Rhode Island’s laws on background checks and weapons permits are considered to be some of the toughest in the nation, and the state is listed by several groups as one of the 10 with the strongest laws. Still, Massachusetts and Connecticut have tighter restrictions on gun ownership, and supporters say more can be done to prevent mass shootings and daily gun violence.

Hundreds of gun owners have held rallies at the Statehouse to protest the proposals since they were introduced this spring. They called on lawmakers to abandon the bills, which they said would infringe on 2nd Amendment rights while doing nothing to reduce violent crime. Gun owners also showed up in large numbers to testify at legislative hearings on the bills. It paid off, said Rep. Michael Chippendale, R-Foster, a leading opponent of the proposals.

“I think people are seeing that we shouldn’t do something just for the sake of doing something,” he said.

Lawmakers in Colorado, New York and Connecticut have enacted tougher gun laws after mass shootings at a suburban Denver movie theater last year and the massacre in Newtown last winter.