When the National Rifle Association sent out its latest legislative questionnaire, Democratic Washington state Sen. Reuven Carlyle had some words ready.
OLYMPIA — When the National Rifle Association (NRA) sent out its latest legislative questionnaire, Reuven Carlyle had a choice response ready.
Carlyle, a Democratic state senator from Seattle, received a list of questions Friday, used to determine how friendly lawmakers are to gun rights.
“If you choose not to return a questionnaire, you may be assigned a ‘?’ rating, which can be interpreted by our membership as indifference, if not outright hostility, toward Second Amendment-related issues,” the NRA’s email reads.
For Carlyle, it sparked the memory of 2014 remarks reportedly made by NRA lobbyist Brian Judy, comparing gun-purchase background checks to the beginning of Nazi measures against Jews before World War II.
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That episode “was incredibly unsettling and offensive for the Jewish community and others,” Carlyle said Friday.
So Carlyle emailed the NRA questionnaire to Judy and some others, including the media. He wrote:
“As a 2016 candidate and incumbent Washington State Senator, I would be more than willing to respond to your official request by the NRA once your organization has the professional courtesy to respond to the inquiry made in 2014 by the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and me about your statements linking 21st Century U.S. gun safety procedures with 1930s Nazi policies.”
“Since, as far as I am aware, no one received the personal or professional courtesy of a response about your statements, one may be led to assume ‘indifference, if not outright hostility, toward’ the sensibilities of the broader Jewish community as well as a belief and value system that vitriolic language is belittling to our nation’s civic dialogue.
“Thus, please consider this a formal request that you make an official notation in your campaign ratings and material to members that I directly responded to your request with a full and complete willingness to answer your policy questions once you and the NRA provide a response to previous inquires about statements that some may consider vicious and insensitive.”
And just for good measure, Carlyle gave Judy a link to donate to the Alliance for Gun Responsibility — a group backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun-violence prevention effort — that in 2014 successfully pushed abackground-check expansionin Washington.
Judy didn’t respond to an email from The Seattle Times seeking comment.
Guns are an issue that hits close to home for the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. In 2006, a disturbed man with a handgun forced his way into the organization’s Seattle office and killed one employee and wounded five others.
Carlyle ended his note by inviting Judy to “a thoughtful, safe, healthy civic dialogue at any time you may wish to engage.”
Given the status of thedebateover guns, that isn’t likely to happen.