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article imageMayor Bloomberg joins Newtown's outrage over NRA robo-calls

By Yukio Strachan     Mar 25, 2013 in Politics
Newtown - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined Newtown residents on Monday in slamming the National Rifle Association’s robocall campaign to residents against any new gun restrictions, saying the NRA “ought to be ashamed."
According to Politicker, Mayor Bloomberg criticized the NRA at a press conference Monday afternoon after a reporter asked what he thought about the fact NRA robocalls against gun control legislation have been received by residents of Newtown, Connecticut, the site where a gunman shot and killed 20 first-graders and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.
“You know, sometimes people just dont express–don’t use good judgement. I guess the word shameless sort of comes up,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Of all the places you shouldn’t be doing robocalls, I would think most people would say that’s not a good place to do it. They ought to be ashamed.”
Bloomberg is the latest high-profile politician who has joined with many Newtown residents in denouncing the NRA's pro-gun robocall campaign.
Connecticut's WFSB reported that the call describes itself as "an urgent legislative alert," and targets constituents of lawmakers who "will play a key role in determining whether the Connecticut General Assembly will pass legislation restricting your gun rights."
"Calling from 703-267-1200 with an urgent legislative alert. Your state senator, Art Linares, will play a key role in determining whether the CT General Assembly will pass legislation restricting your gun rights," one call said according to the station.
In addition to the automated pre-recorded phone calls, the Connecticut station writes that the NRA is also sending out postcards with similar advocacy messages, including one which calls the gun control legislation "dangerous."
Several residents are outraged, saying emotions are still too raw to hear such calls.
"It's ridiculous and insensitive," Newtown resident Dan O'Donnell told NBC Connecticut 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."
Connecticut's WTNH spoke to a resident --afraid to give his name out of fear of NRA supporters-- who said he's received three calls this week. He said the town is struggling to heal after the unforgettable, tragic day in December and that calls like that can halt the process.
He also told the station that parents are trying to help their kids cope and feel safe, and his biggest concern was what if a child, a victims family, had heard the automated message.
Several Newtown residents told The Huffington Post that they were offended by the NRA’s campaign. One resident, Christopher Wenis, said he received numerous robocalls despite calling the NRA twice to request to be placed on the “Do Not Call" list.
“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 last thing I needed.”
The automated calls also called "robo-calls" and post cards from the National Rifle Association come as Connecticut lawmakers consider new laws aimed at reducing gun violence.
In particular, lawmakers are debating whether to issue a retail ban on the sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines and all variations of the AR-15 military-style assault rifle.
As the rifle used by 20-year-old Adam Lanza to kill 26 children and women at Sandy Hook Elementary School December 14, the military-style AR-15 has become a symbol of the tragedy, the Newtown Bee writes. But it also is a popular firearm produced by three gun makers in Connecticut, providing wages to 741 workers and taxes to the state.
Last week, the state's Public Safety and Security Committee passed a bill that would require criminal background checks for all private firearm sales. The measure, which passed out of committee by a vote of 23-0 (with two absent), now goes to the General Assembly for a full vote, CBS reported.
WFSB and NBC Connecticut has reached out to the NRA for comment about the robo calls, the group has not responded.
According to federal law, the NRA is allowed to make such calls because it is a nonprofit organization.
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