Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut sent a joint letter Monday to the National Rifle Association, asking the pro-gun group to stop robocalls to residents of Newtown, Conn.
The NRA is trying to rally support against the Connecticut state legislature, which is currently considering gun control legislation, and did not discriminate in which area codes it sent its messages. Residents of Newtown, the location of a December 2012 elementary school massacre that reignited gun control debates across the country, have expressed outrage over the calls.
“With these robocalls, the NRA has stooped to a new low in the debate over how to best protect our kids and our communities. We call on you to immediately stop calling the families and friends of the victims in Newtown,” Murphy and Blumenthal wrote, in a letter to NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “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. 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.”
A request for comment from the NRA was not immediately returned.
The news of upset Newtown residents broke late last week, with the advocacy group Newtown Action Alliance posting a message to its Facebook page about the robocalls. This led to several other residents posting comments about calls they’ve received.
Audio of the robocall that Newtown residents have received was obtained and posted by the Huffington Post March 21.
“Despite an outcry of public opposition, anti-gun legislators are aggressively pursing numerous proposals that are designed to disarm and punish law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen,” the audio said. “It is critical that you contact your [state senator] . . . and respectfully urge him to oppose any legislation that tramples your Second Amendment rights and inhibits your inherent right to self defense.”
Though the NRA has not confirmed that they are behind the call, the beginning of the automated message states a number that is listed as the general number for the NRA.
“Robocalling members of the Newtown community to promote your agenda less than 100 days after the horrific shooting is absolutely beyond the pale. Again, we call on you to show some basic decency and cease and desist these calls,” wrote Blumenthal and Murphy.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.