Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Gun lobby calls target tragedy town

Pro-gun lobbyists are targeting the tragedy town of Newtown

Homes in the US town where a crazed gunman killed 26 people, 20 of them children, have been receiving automated phone calls from the National Rifle Association gun lobby.

They began last week, only three months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

Residents said the calls urge people to tell their state legislators to oppose gun control proposals. Politicians are debating whether to ban military-style assault weapons, prohibit high-capacity ammunition magazines and other measures in response to the school shootings.

Dan O'Donnell from Newtown's Sandy Hook area said the robocalls were "ridiculous and insensitive.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."

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 has vowed to pass even stronger laws.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, has said his organization supports getting the records of those ruled mentally incompetent and dangerous into the background check system for gun dealers and beefed up penalties for illegal third-party purchases and gun trafficking.

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