Less Popular Than Pond Scum

Senators Face Backlash After Siding with the NRA

Two weeks ago, a minority in the Senate filibustered a commonsense, bipartisan compromise that would expanded background checks so that most gun purchases would be covered.

If you thought that opposing a policy that more than 90 percent of Americans, including more than 80 percent of gun owners, support was both bad policy and bad politics, you’d be right. Polls out in the past few days show that support for senators who filibustered is plummeting.

Freshman Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who is the most unpopular senator in America following his vote, acknowledged today that he is “somewhere just below pond scum” in terms of popularity. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) saw her popularity drop by a whopping 15 points. Meanwhile, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), the lead co-sponsor of the legislation, saw his approval rating hit a record high after he bucked the NRA.

Things got even more intense for Ayotte today. She was confronted by the daughter of a Newtown victim and things did not go well for Ayotte:

“You had mentioned that the burden to owners of gun stores that these expanded background checks would cause,” [Erica Lafferty, daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary principal Dawn Hochsprung] said. “I’m just wondering why the burden of my mother being gunned down in the hall of her elementary school isn’t as important as that?” […]

Lafferty abruptly walked out of the meeting after Ayotte responded to her question, and accused Ayotte of not being forthright after the Republican initially based her opposition on the burden new background checks would cause.

It’s disappointing and disgusting that she can pretty much look me in the eye and try to justify my mother’s murder and the murder of five other educators and the mothers of six and seven year olds,” Lafferty said in an interview. “It’s disgusting.”

You can watch Erica Lafferty challenge Ayotte HERE.

As we’ve said before, this is just the beginning of the fight for commonsense gun violence prevention measures. We all need to redouble our efforts to persuade more senators to side with the overwhelming majority of their constituents and the victims of gun violence instead of the NRA. And we need to hold those that refuse to do so accountable.

BOTTOM LINE: There’s a political price to be paid for opposing commonsense gun violence prevention measures that almost all Americans support and some senators are just starting to get a sense of the cost.

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Advocacy Team