Connecticut senators blast NRA robocalls to Newtown residents

Connecticut's U.S. senators on Tuesday admonished the National Rifle Association (NRA) for robocalls to residents of Newtown, Conn., the site of last year's deadly mass shooting that left 20 schoolchildren and six educators dead.

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"With these robocalls, the NRA has stooped to a new low in the debate over how to best protect our kids and our communities," Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, both Democrats, wrote in a letter to NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre. "We call on you to immediately stop calling the families and friends of the victims in Newtown."

The robocalls, one of which was obtained by The Huffington Post, urge Newtown residents to lobby their state representatives against an effort to pass stricter gun controls in the state. Proposals there include a beefed-up assault weapons ban and a limit on magazine size.

"Anti-gun legislators are aggressively pursuing numerous proposals that are designed to disarm and punish law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen," the robocall says.

In their letter, the senators say "making these calls opens a wound that these families are still trying hard to heal."

"Put yourself in the shoes of a victim’s family member who gets a call at dinnertime asking them to support more assault weapons in our schools and on our streets," the pair write.

On Tuesday, Blumenthal called for an apology from the gun-rights group.

“If the NRA has an ounce of sensitivity or caring or humanity, they will apologize to Newtown and the families that received this call,” said Blumenthal on “CBS This Morning.”

“The NRA has said they hope the ‘Connecticut effect’ will go away, but this time is important and different because the vast majority of American people feel we need to do something about gun violence,” he added.

In a statement to CNN, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam defended the robocalls.

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"The National Rifle Association has members, contributors, and supporters in Connecticut who expect us to do our jobs and keep them abreast of developments on the legislative front in their state," Arulanandam said. "We provide the same service for our members and supporters all around the country."

The calls come less than 100 days after the mass shooting, which prompted the Obama administration to call for a package of new gun control regulations.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last week that the Senate would vote on a bill that included an expansion of background checks and new penalties for straw purchases upon returning from a two-week Easter break.

This story was updated at 8:03 a.m.

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