On Saturday’s broadcast of “Up w/Chris Hayes,” Minnesota Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan suggested that the National Rifle Association’s rhetoric is at least partially responsible for the increasingly disturbing threats he is receiving from constituents.
“I think it would be a mistake to underestimate the kind of toxic effect that the NRA is having,” Nolan said. “I have never, ever in all my life feared for my security. And I’m not fearful of it now. But I’m a little more [concerned] than I ever had been before. We’ve been getting a lot of not-very-thinly-veiled threats and calls into my office. You know, things like, ‘You tell him he better watch his back.’ Nobody has actually come out and said they’re gunning for me, but the messages are quite angry, vitriolic and a little bit frightening to people at my front desk who have been taking the calls. I’m a little nervous about it. I’ve never been nervous before. But they are very toxic in the effect they’re having on the American public.”
The NRA endorsed Nolan’s unsuccessful opponent in the 2012 race, then-Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack, and assigned Nolan an “F” rating because of his stance on gun control.
“The last three or four days of this last campaign, Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, was in my district, going town to town with my opponent,” he said. “Anybody in my district that had ever gotten a hunting license got three or four calls saying, ‘Nolan is going to take your guns away,’ which is not true. I’m a big Second Amendment supporter. I hunt. I fish. We have guns. Everybody in our family and our neighborhood has guns. And so I think there’s been a big change in the national sentiment. Those who were timid about maybe supporting gun control but were afraid politically — they need to get over it. You just can’t allow this kind of gun violence without trying to do something, Chris.”