Thursday, March 7, 2013

Text of Sen. Chris Murphy's letter to NASCAR regarding NRA sponsorship

   This is the Connecticut Democrat's full letter to NASCAR Chairman Brian France:

   Dear Mr. France,
   On Monday, it was reported that NASCAR and the Texas Motor Speedway had just completed a deal to make the National Rifle Association (NRA) the title sponsor of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on April 13th—the NRA 500. As a U.S Senator representing the community of Newtown, Connecticut, I write to you today to ask that you reconsider this decision.
   After the horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which claimed the lives of 20 children and six educators, the NRA has taken an unprecedented extreme position in the debate over the proper response to this tragedy, placing themselves at odds with the overwhelming majority of the American people, and even their own members. Given the emotional state of the national conversation, I believe it would be imprudent for NASCAR to step into such a heated political debate and take sides in this debate by allowing the NRA the title role in the race.
   NASCAR has a long history of supporting our troops, our children, and our communities, and your racing events attract fans from across Connecticut and the country. I also know how deep your own commitment to the Newtown community runs—your donation of $50,000 to Sandy Hook School Support Fund is the very example of NASCAR’s commitment to community. And less than two weeks ago, one of the cars at the Daytona 500 advertised a way to donate money for the Newtown community, and was dubbed #26 for the number of lives lost on December 14th.
   But by giving the NRA sponsorship of a major NASCAR race, NASCAR has crossed a line – you have decided to put yourself in the middle of a political debate, and you have taken a side that stands in opposition to the wishes of so many Newtown families who support common sense gun reform.  Whether or not this was your intention, your fans will infer from this sponsorship that NASCAR and the NRA are allies in the current legislative debate over gun violence.  By announcing this new partnership at the very height of Congress’s deliberations over gun reform, NASCAR has inserted itself into a political debate that has nothing to with the business of NASCAR.  To me, this seems an unwise break with precedent.
   This tragic event has led many individuals and organizations to re-evaluate their views towards guns.  Millions of Americans, including responsible gun owners, have resolved that our nation must do more to protect our children and citizens from gun violence. Reasonable measures that are being considered in Washington have widespread support.  Consider that 92 percent of Americans, 91 percent of gun owners and 74 percent of NRA members support proposals to require background checks for all gun purchases. Yet, instead of playing a constructive role in this debate, the Washington-based leadership of the NRA has become more radicalized.  For example, in 1999, after the horrific shooting at Columbine High School, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre gave a full-throated endorsement of universal background checks.  Yet, after Newtown, the NRA reversed their position, testifying recently before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the organization now opposes this proposal.
   Furthermore, over the past two months my office has released a series of reports looking at the NRA, its sources of funding and its agenda on the state and federal levels.  The findings may surprise you and make you reconsider their sponsorship.  The NRA increasingly relies on support from the firearms industry, including manufacturers of military-style assault weapons that have been used at Newtown and other mass shootings. The NRA also pushes an extreme agenda in state capitols across our nation.  Defying common sense the association has backed laws that allow gun owners to bring concealed weapons into bars, restaurants and sports stadiums.  In possibly the most egregious example, the NRA supported an Indiana law that proscribed when an individual can use force, including deadly force, against a police officer.

   NASCAR has historically been careful not to insert itself, and its hard-earned good reputation, into political and legislative fights.  Why then, start now?  Why take sides against the families of Newtown, Connecticut, by teaming up with the NRA in the middle of an intense legislative fight over gun laws?
   In light of your extensive charitable work and generosity to the Newtown community, I hope that you will reconsider affiliating with the NRA at this time. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
   Christopher S. Murphy
   United States Senator


  1. What an idiot. Too bad elected officials aren't required to read and pass a test on the bill of rights!

    1. so, i guess its ok for the NRA to sponsor a race but when 26 victims were, how do you feel if it was any of your kids?

    2. The NRA bears no responsibility for the shooting at Newton. They are a civil rights organization protecting the Bill of Rights from rampant hysteria.

  2. If the Constitution sponsored a race, he would be against that too.

  3. I agree with the senator.....I do hope they get another sponsor for the race..

  4. Study your history, folks. The right to bear arms was created so colonists could have rifles to hunt food to put on the table, not to carry semi-automatic weapons to hunt innocent children and adults. The argument that guns don't kill people, people kill people is also absurd...if people didn't have guns (especially handguns) they wouldn't be killing each other so much. The US Senator is absolutely right to bring up the conflicting messages that NASCAR is sending.

    1. Believe you need to study history before you lecture others. The right to bear arms was not about hunting. It was to ensure government treating us as citizens not as subjects. When government is scared of the people you have liberty. When people are scared of government you have tyranny.

  5. Unknown 4:49

    The 2nd Amendment was so that we could forcibly overthrow the government when it became despotic. Study your history.

  6. The King of England tried to forcibly confiscate all the guns of the colonists once rumblings of independence began. All dictators prefer to strongarm an unarmed people, much easier that way. The Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting, but as a deterrent to tyranny.

    I bet you think Adam Lanza used an assault rifle on those kids. I saw the video of the police removing it from his car, but that wouldn't fit the agenda now would it?