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Newt Gingrich target of robo-calls by gun-rights organization

As Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich campaigned in New Hampshire today, the National Association for Gun Rights sent out robo-calls in New Hampshire accusing the former House speaker of being “anti-gun.”

The calls say Gingrich has not returned the organization’s survey, adding, “Maybe it’s because of his past support for gun control.”

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The call says that as speaker, Gingrich “wanted to strengthen the anti-gun Brady Bill that created a national gun registry.”

“Newt also supported the Lautenberg law that takes away gun rights for crimes as simple as spanking your child,” the call says. “In fact, even he wants to mandate a thumb print scan for all gun owners.”

The Brady Bill instituted background checks on gun buyers – and Gingrich actually voted against a version of the bill.

The Lautenberg law bans the ownership or use of guns by people convicted of domestic violence, or under a restraining order for domestic abuse.

The thumb print scan reference was based on a 1997 CNN story in when Gingrich said he would prefer an instant background check, based on thumb prints, to determine whether the buyer was a convicted felon or someone with dangerous mental behavior, rather than a background check process instituted by the Brady law.

The National Association for Gun Rights is a Virginia group run by a gun rights lobbyist. Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond directed questions about Gingrich’s positions to Gingrich’s website – which notes that Gingrich is a supporter of the more well-known National Rifle Association, which has given him top ratings and awarded him a “Defender of the Second Amendment award” in 2010.

Luke O’Dell, of the National Association for Gun Rights, said the group is only targeting Gingrich – even though Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann were the only Republican candidates to fill out the group’s survey. It put out similar robo-calls in Iowa. “The former speaker has a long history of taking positions on legislation in Congress that directly contradict his stump speech,” O’Dell said.

Shira Schoenberg can be reached at sschoenberg@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shiraschoenberg.
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