GOP state lawmakers spark outrage by wearing pearls as gun violence victims testified

GOP state lawmakers spark outrage by wearing pearls as gun violence victims testified
© Twitter/ Shannon Watts

Republican members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives are drawing scrutiny for wearing pearl necklaces while gun control activists shared their own experiences with gun violence at a recent hearing.


In images that made the rounds online this week, several Republican legislators could be seen donning the necklaces as lawmakers weighed arguments on a bill designed to establish a procedure for “issuing extreme risk protection orders to protect against persons who pose an immediate risk of harm to themselves or others.”

Critics say that the lawmakers were using “clutching their pearls” imagery to mock the testimony of the gun control activists.


The measure, known as House Bill 687-FN, would allow authorities and family members to obtain court orders that would restrict access to guns for potentially dangerous people.

Many took to social media to post pictures of the necklace-donning Republicans and condemn their choice to wear the necklaces as sexist and insensitive. 

Many advocates who were also volunteers with the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America that were present at the hearing said they felt like the Republican legislators participating in the demonstration were mocking gun violence victims and disinterested in the effect gun violence has on victims.

Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action who shared photos of the hearing online, told The Washington Post on Tuesday that she felt the lawmakers “clearly did not come to this hearing with open minds or compassion for their constituents.”

“It really is shameful to behave that way when your constituents are being brave enough to share their stories,” she said.

Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerWorking Families Party endorses Warren after backing Sanders in 2016 Five top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum MORE (D-N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisChamber of Commerce argues against Democratic proposals for financial transaction taxes Warren proposes new restrictions, taxes on lobbying Five top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum MORE (D-Calif.), who are both running for the White House, also condemned the legislators over the demonstration. 

“Moms who want to keep their kids safe from gun violence don’t deserve this,” Booker wrote in a tweet.


“These moms are fighting to confront gun violence and protect our children,” Harris tweeted. “They don’t deserve to be mocked.”


Some pro-gun advocates pushed back on the criticism, arguing that the legislators' intent was to represent opposition to the bill.

Kimberly Morin, president of the Women’s Defense League of New Hampshire, said on Twitter, “The PEARLS are in support of the Women’s Defense League. Women who ACTUALLY PROMOTE GUN SAFETY and WOMEN’S RIGHTS.”

She also told the New Hampshire media outlet The Union Leader that opponents of the gun control measures have been wearing pearls at gun-related hearings since 2016. 

She later referred to Moms Demand Action volunteers as “harpies” and called Watts a “paid hack” who is lobbying for gun control legislation.