Over the weekend, lobbyist Bob Welch dismissed the importance of the Newtown massacre, telling an annual Wisconsin NRA meeting that they will be able to continue weakening the nation’s gun laws as soon as the “Connecticut effect” dissipates.
Freshman Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) was not pleased to hear the NRA’s comments:
Having met with families and members of the Newtown community numerous times since December 14, I’ve witnessed this community’s pain and their strength. To suggest that the loss of 20 precious children – the loss of six talented and courageous teachers and administrators – is an ‘effect’ that will somehow disappear is callous, and it is wrong. The tragedy in Newtown has irrevocably changed the lives of people in that community, and it’s been felt across the country. I welcome all perspectives to a reasoned conversation about making our communities and our families safer while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Yet the statement by a NRA lobbyist is a reminder of the arrogance and political cynicism we’ve seen from the NRA’s leadership. They just don’t get it, and their unwillingness to understand that the tragedy has compelled Americans to act makes them less and less relevant to the conversation.
Esty isn’t the only lawmaker condemning the NRA for its distasteful comments. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) reprimanded the NRA during a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on Tuesday and in a Huffington Post op-ed, calling the remarks “callous and offensive” and demanding that NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre repudiate them.