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Outraged Newtown residents protest over NRA robocalls

Friday, March 29, 2013
newtown tragedy

Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown

Outraged residents of the Connecticut community devastated by December's school shooting staged a protest Thursday over robocalls they've received from the National Rifle Association only three months after a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Newtown residents said the automated calls from the NRA began last week and urge people to tell their state legislators to oppose gun control proposals. Some also said they received postcards from the NRA supporting gun owners' rights.

"It's ridiculous and insensitive," Newtown resident Dan O'Donnell told Hartford-area NBC affiliate WVIT-TV, one of several media organizations to report 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."

People representing both sides of the gun control debate faced off during the rally in Newtown. Protesters gathered outside the National Shooting Sports Foundation headquarters, which works to protect hunting and the shooting sports. Gun control supporters held signs advocating background checks, while others stood across the street waving signs supporting the foundation.

Like Congress and other state legislatures, Connecticut's General Assembly has been considering gun control measures in the wake of the school 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 people's Second Amendment rights.

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

Shortly after the Newtown shooting, LaPierre also called for armed security guards in schools.

A 20-year-old gunman killed 26 students and educators and himself at Sandy Hook on Dec. 14, after having shot his mother to death at their Newtown home.

Another Newtown resident, Christopher Wenis, told The Huffington Post that he received three of the NRA's robocalls last week.

"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 very last thing I needed."

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(Copyright ©2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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