After 18 years in the legislature, most legislators have cast enough votes that it’s easy to find evidence in the record to paint almost any picture. Every vote can be made to tell a story. But the reality when it comes to Representative Linda Orange is that she has towed the pro-gun line too closely and for too long. If her defenders want to argue that she used to be better than she is now, they are more than welcome to keep doing that.
Two Very Bad Votes
Representative Orange’s position on guns comes down to two well-publicized votes. Orange was wrong to vote against the 2013 gun safety measure, which was passed by more than 2-to-1 in the legislature and is similarly popular with voters. But this single vote does not make up Orange's entire record of guns. It is another vote, which Orange has yet to explain, that is even more troubling. Public Act 07-163, passed in 2007 and signed by Governor Rell, requires that a gun owner report when a firearm is missing or stolen. This bill is a great tool in the fight against gun trafficking. There was no good reason to oppose it, unless you were concerned with what pro-gun interest groups would think. Linda Orange voted no. These votes are the best measure of her record.
A Right-Wing Statement
Rep. Orange’s state legislative website is interesting. Only once since 2004 has Orange posted an explanation of her vote on a bill. We understand why she felt the need to justify such an unfortunate vote, and we encourage people to read her statement in its entirety.
Orange's statement after her vote against Connecticut's popular gun control legislation doesn't take long to begin parroting right-wing Republican talking points. She starts off by calling the bill controversial, in spite of the fact that this bill united Democrats and Republicans in a way that we don't see often. Then, Orange says, "it is best to separate emotion from the actual problem." Again, this is something we hear from pro-gun advocates all the time, and with respect to this bill, it is a claim that has no basis in fact. When you separate emotion from the gun debate, you find that public health professionals, suicide prevention groups, domestic violence groups, and many other experts are united in recognizing that gun violence is a crisis in the United States. They aren't being emotional; they're being professional. Finally, most audaciously, Orange claims that by voting no, she "listened to the overwhelming majority." This is a bold and outrageous claim. Two thirds of Connecticut voters supported gun control. Representative Orange did not listen to the overwhelming majority; she sided with the vocal minority.
NRA Endorsement & An "A" Rating
Linda Orange has an extreme pro-gun record. But don't take this campaign’s word for it. The NRA has continually given Orange a solid "A" rating. Though we don't hold the NRA in very high regard, there is one thing they are very good at: keeping track of who toes their line and who doesn't. And there is one thing we can agree with the NRA on: Representative Orange is one of their closest allies.
Chairing the Sportsmen's Caucus
If the votes and the ratings from the NRA weren't bad enough, Representative Orange also serves as a co-chair of the Sportsmen's Caucus, an innocuously-named front group for the NRA. It is a slick operation that claims to advocate for hunting and fishing enthusiasts. Instead, it fights any and all improvements to gun safety laws. If you have any doubts about whether they are a front group for the NRA and gun manufacturers, check out their board of directors and staff. They are bankrolled by gun retailers, manufacturers, and advocates. It's not about hunting and fishing. It's about fighting any limits on the amount of ammunition a gun can hold. And Linda Orange followed their lead on SB 1160.
Her record is clear. Linda Orange is simply too pro-gun for the 48th District and the State of Connecticut.