NEWTOWN, Connecticut–Some residents of the Connecticut community devastated by December’s school shooting said they’re outraged over automated phone calls they’ve received from the National Rifle Association (NRA) gun lobby only three months after a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators.
Newtown residents said the automated calls from the NRA began last week and urge people to tell their state legislators to oppose gun control proposals, which are being debated in Connecticut and other states in the wake of the shooting. Some also said they received postcards from the NRA supporting gun owners’ rights.
“It’s ridiculous and insensitive,” Newtown resident Dan O’Donnell told Hartford-area NBC affiliate WVIT-TV, one of several media organizations to report about the robocalls. “I can’t believe an organization would be so focused on the rights of gun owners with no consideration for the losses this town suffered.”
A message seeking comment was left Monday at the NRA’s headquarters in Virginia.
Like Congress and other state legislatures, Connecticut’s General Assembly has been considering gun control measures following a string of mass shootings, including banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The NRA strongly opposes many gun control proposals including an assault weapons ban, saying government officials should better enforce existing gun laws and not impede on constitutional rights.
Democrats recently said an assault weapons ban would not be part of a federal gun control package. States are free to impose such bans; New York quickly passed the nation’s toughest gun control laws, including a beefed-up assault weapons ban, and California legislators have vowed to pass even stronger laws.
Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, has said his organization supports getting the records of those adjudicated mentally incompetent and dangerous into the background check system for gun dealers and beefed up penalties for illegal third-party purchases and gun trafficking.
Shortly after the Newtown shooting, LaPierre also called for armed security guards in schools.
A 20-year-old gunman killed 26 students and educators and himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, after having shot his mother to death at their Newtown home.
Another Newtown resident, Christopher Wenis, told The Huffington Post that he received three of the NRA’s robocalls last week.
“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 very last thing I needed.”