The National Rifle Association's Connecticut lobbyist detailed a plan to remove from office lawmakers who voted for bipartisan gun safety legislation following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School and boastfully suggested that the NRA was responsible for the decision of two pro-gun safety legislators not to run for reelection this year.
The NRA's claims about being able to influence the outcome of elections -- often advanced by a lazy media conventional wisdom -- are overstated. In fact research has shown that the NRA's endorsement and campaign contributions have little impact on the outcomes of elections, clearly evidenced by the NRA's disastrous 2012 federal election spending where more than 95 percent of $18 million spent by the NRA went to elections where the NRA-backed candidate lost.
Appearing on an NRA News program, the NRA's Connecticut state liaison Anna Kopperud said that 2014 will be "the year where we pick up our baggage and move forward" and spoke of a need to "correct some of the wrongs that we saw last year" following the enactment of gun safety legislation in the state.
After a gunman used an assault weapon in December 2012 to kill 20 children and six educators at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, the Connecticut state legislature acted in a bipartisan fashion to restrict assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, strengthen background checks on ammunition and firearms purchases, create a registry of weapons offenders, and address mental health issues related to gun violence. Kopperud described the legislation, which was signed into law in April 2013, as the "big bad gun bill."
On the February 27 edition of NRA News show Cam & Company, Kopperud said that the NRA will be "holding folks accountable for those votes they took last year" on gun safety legislation in the 2014 elections and asked NRA supporters to "help get rid of the folks that were true enemies and will be true enemies and support those who are good."
Kopperud claimed that the NRA was already having an impact on the 2014 elections, citing the decisions of Connecticut House Republican Leader Larry Cafero not to run for governor and Connecticut Senate President Pro Tempore Don Williams to not seek reelection to the Senate. According to Kopperud, "Some are saying that the NRA has scared them out of their races, and we support that statement," and legislators who supported gun safety "are already sensing that they're going to be held accountable."
Williams explained his plan to not seek reelection by stating, "I need to push myself toward new challenges. This was just the right time, 10 years as president of the Senate, 22 years overall. This is the right time for change." 11-term veteran Cafero recently announced that he will not run for governor, raising questions that he may retire all together, because he says he wants to spend time with his family.
The NRA's prior Connecticut state liaison, John Hohenwarter, previously described Connecticut's gun safety law the day after it was passed as "a real shame" and "a disservice to what happened and the children" who were killed in the Newtown mass shooting.