Toby Moffett, the former Connecticut congressman who now is a Washington lobbyist in favor of gun control, takes a pessmistic view of the push for gun restrictions after the murders of 26 at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, a part of which he represented in the U.S. House. He sees “the look of defeat” on the face of Sen. Diane Feinstein, a proponent, and hears “the sound of Democrats running for the hills.”

“Even in an institution where retreat from short-lived outrage and determination to change things is manifest, this evolving surrender — just weeks after the massacre of small children — is stunning,” Moffett writes in Huffington Post. “One day it’s the liberal chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee introducing an already-watered-down bill that seeks only to strengthen background checks. The next it’s our earnest Vice President in Richmond for a ‘pro-gun-control’event where he, too, never mentions assault weapons.

“And then we see the look of defeat on the face of gun control’s biggest advocate, Senator Dianne Feinstein, when she’s asked if her comprehensive bill has a good chance of passage. Meanwhile, the sound of Democrats running for the hills for fear of losing their seats in 2014 is unmistakable. Congressmen and Senators, who vowed to support tough measures, return from their first trip home post-Newtown to say they are now ‘studying’ the issue.”

Moffett, a liberal Democrat, also recalls his mixed feelings about representing Newtown.

“When the national media discovered Newtown, they rightly called it ‘bucolic’ and the ‘typical’ New England town. But for me, Newtown was an anomaly,” he writes. “I vividly recall looking forward to going to the local high school to speak with students and how animated and idealistic they were. But I also dreaded returning to that same auditorium for a weekend meeting with constituents. In those ‘congressional town meetings,’ the radical fringe of the pro-gun community dominated.”

Newtown was split between the 5th and 6th Districts when Moffett represented the 6th. He was elected in 1974 and served eight years, his career ending with an unsuccessful challenge of Republican U.S. Sen. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. in 1982.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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