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Chris Murphy, connecticut congressman running for Senate in 2012
Sen. Chris Murphy
Newly elected Sen. Chris Murphy hadn't even been sworn into office yet when unspeakable tragedy struck his state in Newtown. In its aftermath, he's not being cautious. He's not keeping his head down, as many freshman senators would do. He's taking the NRA on. Here's his op-ed declaring the NRA a political has-been.
For years, Washington largely turned a blind eye to the epidemic of gun violence in America, and it’s no great secret why: Democrats and Republicans alike were scared silent by the perceived power of the national gun lobby. The National Rifle Association spent countless election cycles and millions of dollars casting itself as a political juggernaut that House members, senators and even presidents should defy at their own peril — and for the longest time it worked.

Not anymore. As it turns out, the tiger is made of paper.

The 26 lives that were lost in a sleepy town in my state, and the NRA’s bizarre conduct in the wake of this tragedy, have caused people to begin to see the NRA’s true colors. It is an organization fueled by fear and funded by those who profit from America’s increasing fascination with military weaponry. And it is an organization with rapidly atrophying political muscle. When it comes to policy or politics, this simply isn’t your father’s NRA any longer.

Murphy points out that the NRA's efforts in the 2012 election were abysmal. They spent $12 million trying defeat President Obama. They lost in six of the seven Senate races where they invested heavily. They don't have the ability to influence elections they once had, and that influence is only going to erode as their favorability rating with the American public remains in free-fall.

So it's time for members of Congress who do want to do something serious about gun violence to stop using the excuse of potential NRA opposition. Murphy is doing a great service by, as he says, "exposing them for the paper tiger they have become."

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:27 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Daily Kos.

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