Connecticut Democrat questions NRA's influence
January 29th, 2013
06:03 PM ET
10 years ago

Connecticut Democrat questions NRA's influence

Washington (CNN) - A Senate proponent of new gun control measures said Tuesday the National Rifle Association is not the political force it once was and members of Congress should think about that as they consider whether to support restrictions on firearms.

"The reality is that in order to pass this legislation we do have to convince members of Congress that there is not a political price to pay for going against the NRA," Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat told reporters during a conference call.

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Murphy said he wanted to "debunk" what he called the myth of the NRA's political power and said the group "simply doesn't win elections like it used to." The Senator noted that of the 16 contested Senate races in 2012 the NRA was on the losing end in 13 cases.

Murphy cited figures on NRA spending in various races including that the NRA spent more than $10 million dollars opposing President Barack Obama. In Senate battles the NRA spent almost $900,000 in a failed effort to unseat Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown. The group spent more than $600,000 each to oppose Florida's Bill Nelson and Virginia's Tim Kaine. Both men won their Senate races.

The December 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 20 children and 6 adults were killed occurred in Murphy's home state. He is supporting new proposals to ban military-style assault weapons and to require background checks for ammunition purchases.

"If the design of a weapon is for sport or for hunting, then put in it private hands," Murphy said later Tuesday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight." "But if the design of a weapon is to kill more people, then maybe we should reserve that for the military."

A representative from the NRA will be among those testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the first congressional hearings on gun violence since the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

Filed under: Chris Murphy • NRA
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Woman In California

    It's about time someone spoke up against this band of premediating murderers. More and more people are finding out they care nothing about your "rights" and that this is all about money.

    Thank you Sen. Chris Murphy.

    January 29, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. Middle O' the Road

    ...we do have to convince members of Congress that there is not a political price to pay for going against the NRA," Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat told reporters...

    No. The political price they'll pay will come from pro-gun voters who are not NRA members. The NRA may have 4+ million members, but don't underestimate the rest who are not, 105+ million strong, And a healthy percentage of them are women.

    But go ahead, Chris Murphy. Anyone who votes with the diane fine-swine plan will never get a vote from me. If that's the price they're willing to pay, go ahead.

    January 29, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. GonzoinHouston

    Obama never did anything on gun control prior to Sandy Hook. He had sense enough to know that nothing would fire up the right like a threat to their precious guns. After Sandy Hook, he was stuck with a wave of anti-gun fervor. He made a couple of speeches, but has quickly changed the discussion to immigration. He knows that the anti-gun enthusiasm will die down long before the NRA runs out of steam. If something gets passed, he'll sign it, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    January 29, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. texas independent

    Your fellow democrat senators up for re-election next year are running for the hills! Guess they are worried?

    January 29, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  5. California Gary

    I used to think of the NRA as an organization that promoted the safe use of fire arms, with the emphasis on "safe". Somewhere along the way, they have devolved into a crass political organization that spends big money trying to elect people that will support the concept of total gun saturation within our society. The words "safe" and "sane" are no longer a part of what they are about. It's a shame. They could be doing a lot of good. They should be out ahead of the pack promoting safe and sane gun regulations rather than fighting against any and all regulations. They are not only losing their political clout, they are losing the respect of the general population.

    January 29, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  6. Gunther

    The NRA is not the power house they used to be? Where do I send my money?

    January 29, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. Well

    Where was he yesterday at the meeting in his own state over gun violence which was almost overwhelmingly swamped by Pro-gun statements from all races and groups of Americans, while the control crowd could barely do much more than rehash the exact same arguments over and over again.

    I wish CNN would report on that. Seeing how the rest of the media is reporting on the made up heckling report which is going around which was merely the man loudly asking "Why are people allowed assault weapons" and them responding "The second admendment".

    January 29, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  8. C Heston

    Ah yes, the big bad NRA. Why can't people understand that its 4.2M members are just a fraction of VOTERS who are supportive of its efforts. Go ahead and demonize the NRA and Wayne LaPierre, but the Saul Alinsky tactics have no effect on many millions more VOTERS who are untouchable by the community organizers. Members of Congress who side with the anti-gun lobby will discover that NRA money means nothing compared to the actual votes of safe and law-abiding gun owners (most of whom are not NRA members) who are sick of the condescension and villification. The very notion that big-city liberals with atrocious crime, gun bans, and "gun free zones" will define what Americans "need" under the Second Amendment is laughable. But hey, let all of them go on the record now, so that we have a crystal clear picture of who the opposition is.

    January 29, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  9. RINO Bill

    The NRA diluted its effectivity when their leaders started backing conservative candidates in races where there were no 2nd Amendment issues. They are smart enough not to make THAT mistake again.

    January 29, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. WestVA

    He's right, they don't have to worry about the NRA. They do however need to worry about the voting public.....

    January 29, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  11. John

    Yes Sen. Chris Murphy the NRA's political power myth; you now go on thinking that.

    January 29, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  12. 21st Century Johny Reb

    The State of Connecticut can pass all the bans it wants with my blessings, ,,, but,,,(yawn,,,ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    January 29, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  13. Phyllis G Williams

    "The sword of the the Word of God " (Revelation 19: 13 ; Ephesians 6: 17)
    "Here is the faith and the patience of the saints" (Revelation 13: 10 ; Matthew 26: 52)

    January 29, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  14. Facts don't Lie

    I remember years ago the NRA was about gun saftey, was about youngsters going hunting with their dads and grandpas getting their first deer or even rabbit on a hunting trip. And it was also about resposibility of gun ownership. We even had a merit badge when I was a Boy Scount for marksmanship which was taught by NRA members. That was THEN this is NOW. The NRA has become nothing but a gun lobbey for the gun companies which always see their sales go up after tragic situations like Sandy Hook. They don't teach gun responsibility but that everyone or anyone should have a gun with no background checks or even the type of weapon it might be. And now all they do is hover over Congress to see who might dare defy them and if they do try to get them booted out. It's all about MONEY now and that is really sad.

    January 29, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  15. 032125

    Funny how the media focuses on the NRA as the opposition to this misguided policy, rather than the 150+ million gun owners who may or may not support the NRA. When you want to undermine your enemy's cause, make it sound like it's all lobbyists. When it's your cause, it's "the people", right?

    Subtle is the snake.

    January 29, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  16. Name

    making it harder to obtain guns for legitimate law abiding citizens will not help a thing criminals will still have access to Guns because they don't follow the law in the first place all the proposed gun reform will do will is make it harder for law abiding citizens to protect themselves

    January 29, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  17. clarity6

    How many children have to die before we stand up to the NRA? They even refuse to make backgrounds checks. It is only a mater of time before we have another tragedy by those crazy gun owners with no respect for life.

    January 29, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  18. Thomas

    It's funny , most of the NRA lobbyist used to work for the tobacco lobby !

    The rest now work for clean coal !

    January 29, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  19. CBP

    Senator Murphy is correct but those who support the NRA will not change their ways. They still believe that they need the NRA support to win an election particularly in western states. They will not admit that some of the guns sold in this country are not necessary for hunting which is the main reason people buy guns. If they buy these weapons because they are collectors can they agree that they do not need to buy these ammo packs which allow for rapid fire of large numbers of bullets. Do you need this type of ammo to hunt and if you use them are you truly interested in hunting or just in rapidly killing an animal because you can. Is this a cruel way just to hunt?

    January 29, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  20. elmo

    the nra might not have all the pull it once had ,...but all the gun manufactors in his state still do

    January 29, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  21. confused

    Personally, i own a .308 bolt action with a 4x scope. Do you consider this a military-style weapon? (you should, because it is what i used when i served) I also have a Ruger P95 9mm with 2 15 round magazines. Depending on the scenario, either can be considered more dangerous then the other. (The .308) is the most accurate weapon i have ever used while in the military, and when i go hunting. The 9mm, which holds 16 rounds (15 in mag, 1 in the chamber) is excellent for the pesky yotes that come around when I am hunting (not to mention I carry it for my job). I believe that with years of training, experience, and use of both, with current CCW permits and state endorsements, that magazine capacity and "military style" weapons are just a "quick fix" attempt, and not an actual solution to the issues we face. Law enforcement and background checks I wholeheartedly support. Mental health checks I can also support. Restricting/limiting capacity, in my opinion, would be another step, just shouldnt be the first step.

    January 29, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  22. Iamthenra

    Mr Murphy should resign his post and go back to school. The 2nd Amendment isn't about sport and hunting. On another note, maybe he thinks it's okay to shoot someone as long as the ammo was legally purchased.

    January 29, 2013 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  23. DaveW

    Yes. And after this, let's ban private handguns.

    January 30, 2013 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  24. J.V.Hodgson

    I have a questiona for Mr. Lapierre.
    In terms of todays society and laws who and where is the " well regulated militia" and who runs and regulates it?
    Please explain to this simpleton how any of the proposed legislation takes away any guns from so called responsible gun owners.
    Responsible gun owners still get shot in America by criminals and mentally disturbed people, so how does having multiple weapons of whatever type guarantee your safety it does not. We reponsible gun owners are not all Rambo types are we??
    Please do not forget gun suicides and gun accidents.
    Pray also do tell why car accident deaths of any kind have any bearing on the 2nd amendment whatsoever.
    Finally even the supreme court does not agree you can have any type of weapon you choose. If you disagree challenge the supreme courts decision on its interpretation of the Bill of rights 2nd amendment.

    January 30, 2013 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  25. T

    ........All Congressmen and Senators............the nra has 3,500,000 memebers, and about 3 times that wil sympathizers. That totals just under 11,000,000. The USA population is 335,000,000.........DO THE MATH.....

    January 30, 2013 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
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