Connecticut senator: 'This is not your father's NRA'
January 13th, 2013
11:44 AM ET
9 years ago

Connecticut senator: 'This is not your father's NRA'

(CNN) - Sen. Chris Murphy doesn't share the National Rifle Association's assessment that Congress won't pass an assault weapons ban.

"I think (the NRA) is wrong," the Connecticut Democrat said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "I think that this issue is going to continue to move."

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On the same CNN program, NRA President David Keene said earlier he doesn't think there's enough support to get an assault weapons ban, or restrictions on high-capacity magazines, through both chambers of Congress.

Murphy, however, shot back, saying when the "president puts the full weight of their office behind legislative change, that certainly means something." The freshman senator was speaking on the show from Newtown, Connecticut.

Following last month's shootings at the Newtown elementary school, President Barack Obama tapped Vice President Joe Biden to lead a task force that would come up with proposals no later than this month to reduce gun violence. While meeting with a wide variety of stakeholders in the gun debate last week, Biden cautioned that "the president is going to act" and mentioned that executive orders could be issued.

READ MORE: NRA president says gun control efforts will crumble in Congress

Murphy said he does see movement on Capitol Hill toward wanting serious change in federal gun laws. He pointed to pro-gun Democrats with high ratings from the NRA, such as Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, both of whom have been outspoken on a need for change. He also mentioned conservative Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia, who recently said he favored some forms of gun control.

"That's a sea change if people like that in the Republican House Caucus are willing to look at this," Murphy told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. "Newtown fundamentally changed things, and the NRA just doesn't get this. They've got to come to the table on gun control, just as they're saying they're coming to the table on mental health, because their previous allies and backers in the House and the Senate aren't with them anymore."

He took aim in particular at the lobby's influence.

"The NRA does not represent gun owners anymore. This is not your father's NRA. It represents gun manufacturers," Murphy said. "They make tens of millions of dollars off of purchases of guns."

Since the shooting last month, the NRA has added 100,000 new members, bringing its total membership to 4.2 million, NRA officials told CNN. Because of the increased attention on the issue, the officials think the group will soon hit 5 million.

Murphy pointed to the organization's "roundup" program, which encourages customers to round the cost of their purchase up to the next higher dollar amount and give the difference to the NRA.

The NRA's Keene, however, argued with that notion earlier on "State of the Union," saying manufacturers are "not our constituency."

"Our constituency is twofold," he said. "It's the American people who want to own guns and use them legally, and it's the Second Amendment itself."

While the NRA sharply disagrees, Murphy maintained that an assault weapons ban would help stop more mass shootings, and he vowed to vote for such legislation if it comes to the Senate floor.

"There would still be little boys and girls alive in Newtown today, I believe, if you had banned assault weapons and these high-capacity magazine clips," he said. "And that's something we can do and do now."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Chris Murphy • Congress • Gun rights • NRA • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. Rich Green

    I truley am having a hard time reading the ignorant and uninformed drivel comming from this post thread. The amount of fallacy and downright infant thinking processese is staggering. And this observation goes straight to the top with Bidens anecdotal bill he will unvail to the "President" this week, either whom, by the way, doesn't make a move without a highly armed posse and was quick to sign a bill just last week to give him that luxury for the rest of his life, so why should he worry. Biden made the statement that "if this bill saves just one life, it will be worth it" WHAT?? Did I really hear that or were they just testing us?

    January 13, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. Robert McCabe

    Another low life politician using the deaths of children to further an agenda.This phony never mentioned the killings that go on everyday in Chicago,if he were so caring of the families would have certainly shown some concern for them.The agenda however is to take away our guns and it has nothing to do with Newtown.

    January 13, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. PK

    Teachers being armed, school custodians being armed, when and where does the collateral damage start? When do they accidentally shoot an innocent and call it "I was afraid for my life"? I see the law suits against school boards with knee jerk reactions coming, only a matter of time. As for the NRA, their only solution is to arm every single person in the USA whether competent or not to have a weapon, something the gun manufacturers will love, road rage turns to gun rage, an argument with a neighbor turns into a shootout. Until mental illness and weapons are addressed as one, nothing will change. Somebody this morning said every instrument that can cause a death needs to be banned in defense of the NRA, a knife or fork will not kill 26 people in 30 seconds like a semi automatic. As for arming every teacher and custodian, some will be hesitant and as I was taught a long time ago, if you pull out a weapon, plan on using it, there is no going back, you have crossed the point of no return, a hell of a position for a sane person to be put in and the life they may have to take. For those of you who puff out your chests and boast no problem, you are part of the problem.

    January 13, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Vinny

    It's time for a change. Why exactly does the avg. Joe need to have high-capacity fire arms?

    January 13, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. justthefactsman

    I believe Americans that have been on the sidelines watching this country become a society of narcissistic takers are going to begin to mobilize. The gun issue may be the tipping point. I've been an uninvolved NRA member for 35 years, no longer though.

    January 13, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. Robert McCabe

    They want to take our guns to further their agenda.

    January 13, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. Derek -- Canadian

    Why not as in the Canadian example have a gun licence? You have to take a course for both owning and buying a fire arm as well as a course for hunting safely. Have different levels of courses for the type of fire arm you want (automatic, hand, hunting,) That way its not as simple as "I'm gonna buy a gun today" People can still have any gun they want just make it take a little effort. The fees can be split between administration of the program, education, conservation, etc. Works really well here. The guns that cause the most problems in canada are stolen and usually out of the states and smuggled in. I think its the ease at which you can obtain a fire arm that causes the problems. If you dont have a record you get a gun. It seems to me its harder to get your drivers licence than to possess a gun.

    January 13, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Kelly51

    Before you know it the Liberals will have us using muskets, like they did in the civil war. More blood shed is all Democrats want. If you think for one minute if this bill passes it will be the end of gun violence? You're dead wrong! And, if you think for one moment this law wouldn't catipult the government into banning guns all together, you're dead wrong!

    January 13, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. Tom

    The way the NRA is presenting thier side, may be rallying their members, but as @trex stated, their members are in the minority. The faces of the organization are people Alex Jones and the NRA leadership; not the more reasonable gun owners. Their "no-compromise" stance is going to create a backlash they won't be able to overcome.

    January 13, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. Adela

    And how many Americans have QUIT the NRA since Newtown?

    January 13, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Brendan Perez

    I wonder what makes the Senator think that banning so-called 'assault weapons' or standard capacity magazines would do anything. Mass killers will simply switch other revolvers and semi-automatic weapons that don't have scary looking features, and they might have to reload a little more often.

    The killers, who number at most 10-15 a year and responsible for 120-140 deaths, always choose places where people are not allowed to possess guns; they're not shooting up gun shows, gun stores, police stations, open carry rallies, sporting goods stores, etc. The CT shooter had 14 minutes to do what he wanted, that's enough time for a person to repeatedly reload a revolver with loose ammunition in a pocket. If he is limited to 10 round magazines he simply brings a bunch with him or conserves ammunition. In the end, NOTHING is stopped or even reduced.

    There is nothing unique or special about the weapons called 'assault weapons' and they've never played a big part in crime, so banning them simply cannot accomplish much of anything.

    One reason these proposed bans are being opposed is that they demonstrate incrementationfrom people who have repeatedly and openly stated their desire to ban and confiscate all firearms or entire classes of them, and are the same people who have claimed for 30+ years that the 2nd amendment doesn't protect an individual right and that self defense is not a valid reason to own a firearm.

    These are the people who pushed a 2 feature ban through in 1994, claiming it would save lives. Then almost immediately they were crying foul because manufacturers complied and only put 1 feature on the guns. They claimed this was exploiting a loophole, or skirting the ban. They did this within the 1st month of the ban being passed. How then can they claim that the ban was successful if it was 'easily skirted with cosmetic changes" (their words)?

    The firearm used in CT passed the 2 feature test and is sometimes referred to as a 1 feature gun. So now here we are with the same people who were pushing a broader 1 feature ban as early as 1997, claiming a 1 feature ban is just the thing to save lives. When, not if, that is demonstrated as a failure, it's a certainty that they will come back and call for a ban on all semi-automatic firearms ie., a 0 feature ban. It's what they've wanted in the past and is the direction they're trying to go.

    As for comment that the NRA has 3million+ members and that somehow the 'fight' is between those 3 million and the other 340+ million americans, well the numbers are off. What makes people think that a substantial portion of the non members don't agree with the NRA in some or many ways? How many advocacy groups can regularly get 70,000 people to come to their meetings, claim 4 million members, get 2 million likes on their Facebook pages, etc.? I'm not seeing dozens of people on facebook or at work telling me they joined the Brady group, nor do I overhear others openly saying they hope the Brady group fights(for) this or that.

    January 13, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. NOnra

    NRA endorsed Mitt Romney and he lost election. It is plain and simpe. NRA has no influence. There is proverb "Empty vessels makes lot of noise". So is NRA.

    January 13, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. AnySaneLiberals?

    To all the anti-gunners posting here – why don't you look up the numbers, make an actually sane evaluation, and stop going off of emotions. Newtown was horrible, there is no denying that, but the actual level of gun violence is at an all time low. If you remove the suiciders and gang bangers it is way down on the list of things that can kill you. I am sick and tired of the people who don't actually use a right saying it can be removed. The Bill of Rights is not subject to your sick interpretation of individual rights.

    The current rant against "assault weapons" ignores the fact that of all gun crimes rifles are used in a very small percentage of them. And of those rifle crimes assault weapons are only a small part of them.

    But lets not worry about reality – after all the only important thing is an emotional response.

    January 13, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. Vincent

    5million members is a good number of voters. But thats still not enough if a large enough percentage of the remaining voters decide to let their voice be heard too. And not even all members of the NRA agree with the extremist views of the NRA.
    The NRA may have bought enough of the politicians to protect their gravy train, but politicians who dont represent the views of the majority of their constiuents will be removed.

    As passed by the Congress:
    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:
    "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    The extremists seem to always want to mention how the 2nd amendment allows for the right to bear arms. Does it mention somewhere what TYPE of firearms?
    ALL firearms should not be banned. But it IS time for discussion about sensible regulation and control of certain types of weapons and ammunition.

    January 13, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. agathokles

    It's always funny (in a sick, tragic sort of way) how NRA amigos brand anyone a "left-wing liberal" who so much as wants to do ANYTHING more in the way of regulating guns and ammo. That's nuts! I own about a dozen pistols and have a CCW permit (NY state) and I am fully on-board with more regulation. I am not (nor ever shall be) a member of the NRA. As the senator says, it's primarily an organization that represents manufacturers, who hoodwink gullible owners into doing their bidding. They say "You know, Obama wants to take away your guns!" - and then sales go up.

    January 13, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. N&W 1000

    DID anybody read, on CNN about the conspiracy NUT who says the President, and the Government, arranged the mass murder of American citizens, for POLITICAL GAIN, to further an agenda, etc...

    Can you imagine such DISTRUST of our president????

    Harrumph....snort....huff...puff....imagine, thinking that about Bush and Cheney.

    January 13, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. ray

    i wish and pray that all republicans die soon so this country can be a better place

    January 13, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. JPC

    Why do we call it a shooting.The correct description is: A SLAUGHTER OF INNOCENT CHILDREN IN NEWTOWN. If we keep it in the proper context maybe we can get something done about of our out of control gun society.

    January 13, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. AnySaneLiberals?

    I just watched a football game that played the national anthem before the game. I was struck by the words of the anthem and what I see posted by the anti-gunners. We are no longer the home of the free and land of the brave. Because of their totally irrational fears the liberals are rapidly making us the home of the chickens and land of the government controlled.

    Our individual rights are rapidly being diminished by the government with the full support of those who are so afraid of everything that they will gladly give up those rights if the government says they will protect them "they promise".

    You bunch of chickens are going to get the government you deserve – I just hope there is another place that has freedom I can move to when it comes about.

    January 13, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. Kamal

    Whenever a gun -a gun of any type is available to anyone-sane, insane, normal or mentally ill, it adds to the possibility of its being used in a situation -which legitimate (2nd amendment adherants) gun owners did not plan for.
    A less gun is better than more guns.

    January 13, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. Thomas A. Hawk

    Vernon, because it's ONLY 100K raising the total to about 5M. Compare to the membershp in the GOP of about 60M or more.

    January 13, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  22. JPC

    why dont we force gun manuf to use available tech,Fingerprint recognition can be more then one to ensure gun safety.

    January 13, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. Steve Wilson, Canada

    Okay, try this from a big-mouthed Canadian –

    First, BOTH sides must compromise. You Americans are SO black and white on this it's ridiculous.

    The biggest problem I believe, is not the "assault rifle" themselves or the cailbres, it's the size of the magazine. If anyone in their right mind thinks they need a 20, 50, 100 or even a 200 round magazine for their firearm, they are insane and a true gun nut. The type that scares the crap out of "normal" people, like me.

    In Canada, it is illegal to have a center-fire rifle that has a magazine containing more than 5 rounds. That is PLENTY. Our law works. Yes, we do have the VERY occasional crazy mass murder up here too, but when was the last time you heard of one? 1989 in Montreal as far as I know. And, that dude was seriously mental.

    For anyone who thinks they need to "keep and bear arms to protect themselves aginst a tyranical government" etc, etc... just stop and think for one minute. If your government wants to take you out, it will. Your assault weapons, handguns and shotguns won't do you any good in that ridiculous scenario. I don't care how big your magazine is...

    And, besides, do you HONESTLY think that your US government would ever ACTUALLY turn on its own people? If you do, you NEED some help. You are a paranoid nut.

    There is NO way that the culture of America will surrender their guns, nor should they. I'm glad the woman in Georgia shot that intruder in her home last week. Good for her. She didn't need a 20 round magazine though.

    I am a hunter and I would NEVER let our government take my hunting shotguns and rifles away from me. They wouldn't anyway. But, do we really need assault style semi-automatic and even FULLY automatic rifles and machine guns in our society?

    Those should be reserved for the police, the military and Hollywood films.

    January 13, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. engine version mismatch

    The government will be happy when the only firearms allowed for the public use are. Muzzle loaders only. everyone will have guns but it will be a burden in lenghty reload times. no more killing 30 people in a couple of secounds time.. The NRA is a farce. They do not stand for "every american's rights"..

    January 13, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. clivege0

    Ray of Con.What is the difference..they get the what u call the senator out fot as misleading is just a techinivcality!

    January 13, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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