Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal reacted strongly to a report that the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation is outspending the National Rifle Association on lobbying, saying it is time to “double-down’’ on laws to reduce gun violence.
Connecticut’s two Democratic senators cited a report Sunday by Hearst Connecticut Media, which found that the NSSF had stepped up its lobbying of Congress and campaign contributions to pro-gun lawmakers and candidates in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting on Dec. 14, 2012.
On lobbying, the report found, the NSSF went from a small presence on Capitol Hill prior to Sandy Hook to the point where last year and so far this year it was exceeding the NRA on overall lobbying expenditures _ in-house lobbyists plus the hiring of outside lobbying firms. In 2014, the NSSF spent a total of $3.530 million on lobbying compared to the NRA’s $3.480 million.
“This troubling report exposes the money behind the politics of gun lobbies like the NSSF,’’ the senators said in a statement. “The NSSF is spending millions of dollars to prevent expanded background checks and protect immunity for gun manufacturers _ priorities that are simply out of step with the views of the majority of law-abiding gun owners.’’
The NSSF beating out the NRA on lobbying “means we must double down on our push for commonsense reforms to reduce gun violence,’’ they said. “No matter how much money is spent fighting our efforts, we will continue to stand with Connecticut families and advocates touched by gun violence. We won’t give up.’’