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U.S. senator rips NRA for making robocalls to Newtown residents

March 25, 2013|By Matt Pearce
  • Jimmy Greene, foreground left, and Nelba Marquez-Greene, center, the parents of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Ana Marquez-Greene, shown in the large photograph; and Nicole Hockley, right, mother of victim Dylan Hockley, react during a news conference at Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, Conn., in January.
Jimmy Greene, foreground left, and Nelba Marquez-Greene, center, the… (Jessica Hill / Associated…)

The National Rifle Assn. is taking heat from a U.S. senator after accusations that the organization robocalled Newtown, Conn., residents and urged them to oppose gun-control legislation.

Stricter gun laws have been proposed in legislatures all over the country in the wake of the Newtown massacre in December, with New York and Colorado leading the way with restrictive new laws.

Connecticut already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and the NRA has been phoning residents in the state to oppose further changes -- "their most recent repugnant tactic," as U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D.-Conn.) called them in a ThinkProgress op-ed published Monday.

"In its relentless effort to defeat the Sandy Hook Promise [to prevent similar massacres in the future] and block common sense, life-saving gun violence legislation, NRA leadership has shown no boundary it will not cross — including injecting its fear-based messages into the homes, the sanctuaries, of a grieving community," wrote Blumenthal.

One Newtown resident, Chris Wenis, wrote on Facebook that he was "insulted and offended" to receive a call from the NRA. On Friday, after receiving another call, he wrote, "I am really upset at this point. I had already called and requested my name to be taken off their list."

An NRA spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Los Angeles Times about the phone calls. NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam previously told the Huffington Post that the calls were supposed to go to NRA members and supporters as part of the association's legislative alerts.

Blumenthal, who has introduced legislation proposing background checks for ammunition purchases, has previously taken to the bully pulpit to protect Newtown residents from so-called Sandy Hook truthers who believe the massacre never happened.

The Dec. 14 attack left 20 students and six adults dead at the school, plus the shooter, Adam Lanza, who killed himself.

Several families of Newtown victims have announced their support for stricter gun-control legislation, with one parent, Nelba Marquez-Greene, previously criticizing NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre and others for arguing about gun control before her daughter's burial.

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