Newtown families ask for meeting with...

Newtown families ask for meeting with Mitch McConnell

Posted in the Minneapolis Forum

Consistent

Minneapolis, MN

#1 Apr 17, 2013
Keeping the pressure on; these people are heroic in their own right.

Newtown families ask for meeting with Mitch McConnell

Posted by Greg Sargent on April 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm

A representative for families of the Newtown shooting victims has asked Senator Mitch McConnell to hold a meeting with them, according to sources familiar with the request. McConnell’s office initially declined the request on the basis of scheduling, a source says — and now family members are set to call McConnell and reiterate the request personally.

How will McConnell respond?

The request – if granted — would allow the families to directly confront the primary architect of the GOP’s strategy of blocking everything Dems propose to slow the tide of gun violence. If it is denied, it would be a big story, and could lend support to the argument that Republicans are callously rebuffing the families — and prioritizing the gun lobby over them – in the wake of a massacre that claimed the lives of 20 Newtown children.

The request — which was made by a representative of Sandy Hook Promise, a group that includes around a dozen family members who are lobbying Washington lawmakers – represents something of a shift in strategy by the families, and carries interesting implications for later stages in this battle. Previously, the families, who have met with many Democratic Senators, had mostly shied away from asking for a meeting with McConnell and some other Republicans, on the theory that they should focus their energy on Senators they deemed persuadable. This irritated Democrats who wanted to see more public pressure put on their GOP counterparts.

But now the families are asking McConnell for a meeting. The families are not optimistic that the meeting will move McConnell, a source familiar with their thinking says, but this will placate Dems who want public pressure put on the leader of Senate Republicans. What’s more, if the legislation fails, the families don’t want to be in the position of retrospectively wondering if they had done all they could to get it passed, particularly since a round of bitter finger-pointing would be all but inevitable. And finally, the source says, the families are hoping to initiate a longer term conversation — one beyond the current battle – with even hostile lawmakers about other ways of combatting gun violence, such as school safety and addressing mental illness.

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