Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) blasted the National Rifle Association on Monday, calling the organization’s recent robocall campaign in Newtown, Conn., a “repugnant tactic” that “mocks and betrays the courage and compassion demonstrated by the Newtown community.”
In a guest blog post for ThinkProgress, Blumenthal criticized the NRA for “injecting its fear-based messages into the homes ... of a grieving community.”
“NRA leadership demonstrated yet again last week just how low they are willing to go in their unconscionable effort to block any common sense, life saving gun violence legislation,” Blumenthal wrote.
The NRA came under fire Thursday for launching a pro-gun robocall and postcard campaign. The organization urged Newtown residents to contact their state senators to express their opposition to gun-control legislation in the Connecticut General Assembly.
“Despite an outcry of public opposition, anti-gun legislators are aggressively pursuing numerous proposals that are designed to disarm and punish law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen,” the robocall states.
LISTEN: NRA robocall in Connecticut, sent by a HuffPost reader:
Several Newtown residents told The Huffington Post that they were offended by the NRA’s campaign. One resident, Christopher Wenis, said he received numerous robocalls despite calling the NRA twice to request to be placed on the “Do Not Call" list.
“I’ve got a 5-year-old son who went to preschool on the Sandy Hook Elementary School campus,” Wenis said. “And this was a really hard week for me on a lot of levels. These calls were the last thing I needed.”
Blumenthal says he wants the NRA to stop harassing his constituents.
“My message to NRA leadership: Stop these invasive, unconscionable calls,” Blumenthal urged in his blog post. “Join the vast majority of Americans and Newtown residents in supporting common sense measures to stem and stop gun violence.”
Public opinion polls on gun control legislation since the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown that left 20 children and six educators dead have shown that a majority of Americans support stricter gun control laws.
According to a recent Washington Post/ABC poll, 52 percent of Americans support increased gun control, compared to 45 percent who oppose stricter gun laws. The poll also indicated overwhelming support for increased background checks, with 90 percent of registered voters favoring a measure requiring background checks at gun shows.
UPDATE: 2:40 p.m. -- Blumenthal and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) released a joint statement calling on the NRA to end its robocall campaign to the Newtown community. The letter, which was addressed to NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, says "with these robocalls, the NRA has stooped to a new low in the debate over how to best protect our kids and our communities."
"In a community that’s still very much in crisis, to be making these calls opens a wound that these families are still trying hard to heal," the senators write. "Put yourself in the shoes of a victim’s family member who gets a call at dinnertime asking them to support more assault weapons in our schools and on our streets."
"Robocalling members of the Newtown community to promote your agenda less than 100 days after the horrific shooting is absolutely beyond the pale," the letter continues. "Again, we call on you to show some basic decency and cease and desist these calls."
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1981: The Attempted Assassination Of President Ronald Reagan
on March 30, 1981, President Reagan and three others were shot and wounded in an assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr. outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Reagan's press secretary, Jim Brady, was shot in the head.
1993: The Brady Handgun Violence Act
The Brady Handgun Violence Act of 1993, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, mandated that federally licensed dealers complete comprehensive background checks on individuals before selling them a gun. The legislation was named for James Brady, who was shot during an attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
1994: The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, instituted a ban on 19 kinds of assault weapons, including Uzis and AK-47s. The crime bill also banned the possession of magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition. (An exemption was made for weapons and magazines manufactured prior to the ban.)
2004: Law Banning Magazines Holding More Than Ten Rounds Of Ammunition Expires
In 2004, ten years after it first became law, Congress allowed a provision banning possession of magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition to expire through a sunset provision. Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke told HuffPost that the expiration of this provision meant that Rep. Gabby Giffords's alleged shooter was able to fire off 20-plus shots without reloading (under the former law he would have had only ten).
2007: The U.S. Court of Appeals For The District Of Columbia Rules In Favor Of Dick Heller
In 2007 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled to allow Dick Heller, a licensed District police officer, to keep a handgun in his home in Washington, D.C. Following that ruling, the defendants petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
2008: The NICS Improvement Amendments Act
Following the deadly shooting at Virginia Tech University, Congress passed legislation to require states provide data on mentally unsound individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, with the aim of halting gun purchases by the mentally ill, and others prohibited from possessing firearms. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush in January of 2008.
2008: Supreme Court Strikes Down D.C. Handgun Ban As Unconstitutional
In June of 2008, the United States Supreme Court upheld the verdict of a lower court ruling the D.C. handgun ban unconstitutional in the landmark case <em>District of Columbia v. Heller</em>.
Gabrielle Giffords And Trayvon Martin Shootings
Gun control advocates had high hopes that reform efforts would have increased momentum in the wake of two tragic events that rocked the nation. In January of 2011, Jared Loughner opened fire at an event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), killing six and injuring 13, including the congresswoman. Resulting attempts to push gun control legislation <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/trayvon-martin-shooting-gun-debate_n_1413115.html" target="_hplink">proved fruitless</a>, with neither proposal even succeeding in gaining a single GOP co-sponsor. More than a year after that shooting, Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/trayvon-martin" target="_hplink">gunned down</a> by George Zimmerman in an event that some believed would bring increased scrutiny on the nation's Stand Your Ground laws. While there has been increasing discussion over the nature of those statutes, lawmakers were <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/trayvon-martin-shooting-gun-debate_n_1413115.html" target="_hplink">quick to concede</a> that they had little faith the event would effectively spur gun control legislation, thanks largely to the National Rifle Association's vast lobbying power. Read more <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/trayvon-martin-shooting-gun-debate_n_1413115.html" target="_hplink">here</a>:
Colorado Movie Theater Shooting
In July of 2012, a heavily armed gunman <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/aurora-shooting-movie-theater-batman_n_1688547.html" target="_hplink">opened fire on theatergoers</a> attending a midnight premiere of the final film of the latest Batman trilogy, killing 12 and wounding scores more. The suspect, James Eagan Holmes, allegedly carried out the act with a number of handguns, as well as an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round drum magazine. Some lawmakers used the incident, which took place in a state with some of the laxest gun control laws, to bring forth legislation designed to place increased regulations on access to such weapons, but many observers, citing previous experience, were <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/batman-shooting_n_1690547.html" target="_hplink">hesitant to say</a> that they would be able to overcome the power of the National Rifle Association and Washington gun lobby.
Sikh Temple Shooting
On August 5, 2012, white supremacist Wade Michael Page opened fire on a Sikhs gathered at a temple in Oak Creek, Wis., killing six and wounding four more before turning the gun on himself.