Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), one of the leading gun control advocates in Congress and a potential 2020 presidential candidate, wasted no time in trying to leverage financial support from this week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Murphy’s re-election campaign blasted out an email to supporters asking for contributions to three gun control groups, according to the Connecticut Post.
"If we are ever going to make our communities safer from gun violence, we have to put in the same effort to build our own political infrastructure around gun safety," Murphy wrote supporters. "I am trying. You know that. But I cannot do it alone. So I have to ask you: Split a donation — of any amount — between the leading organizations working every day to take on the NRA and make our communities safer from gun violence."
Murphy asked contributors to give money to the leftist group ActBlue, which lets people pick from three different organizations. It listed the Murphy campaign as a fourth choice. The Connecticut Post reported that ActBlue removed the senator's campaign as a choice on Wednesday and that Murphy's email did not specifically ask for campaign funds.
Michael Johns, president of Tea Party Community, told LifeZette that Murphy's fundraising plea is wrong on grounds of good taste and substance.
"It is abhorrent," he said. "No political figure should ever seek to derive political benefit or funds from what amounts to a national tragedy."
Beyond that, Johns said, none of the gun control measures proposed by Democratic politicians would have prevented the carnage. He argued that the shooter, Nevada resident Stephen Paddock, would not have been deterred by gun restrictions if he was not deterred to kill with them.
"It really fails the test of logic," he said.
Paddock fired indiscriminately into a large crowd of people attending an outdoor country music festival near Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Sunday. So far, 58 people have died, and at least 500 suffered injuries.
Johns said it would be more appropriate — and have a better chance at bipartisanship — to address the country's mental health shortcomings. But he said restrictions on gun ownership do not deter people who are willing to break laws against using guns criminally.
"If a law were sufficient to prevent violence, we'd have zero gun violence."
"If a law were sufficient to prevent violence, we'd have zero gun violence," he said.
Murphy also came under criticism from Connecticut Republicans.
"What he did shows his character," state GOP Chairman J.R. Romano told the Connecticut Post. "This is the real Chris Murphy, a political opportunist who is trying to raise his name recognition to run for president."
The paper reported that Republicans compared the fundraising appeal to one by the state's other senator, Democrat Richard Blumenthal, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
Murphy stood by the fundraising appeal, according to the paper.
"The email should have been clearer about the options available to those who chose to donate, but Chris has been totally transparent about the need to spend every single day building a well-funded political movement that will eventually win changes in the law to help end this epidemic of mass carnage," spokeswoman Laura Maloney told the paper. "Thoughts and prayers won't stop this slaughter — only a political movement that leads to legislative action will."
Last Modified: October 5, 2017, 6:56 am