A mothers' gun-control group says they were 'mocked' by male Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire, who wore pearl necklaces to a hearing

Twitter/Shannon WattsMale lawmakers in New Hampshire wore pearl hearings to a hearing on Tuesday attended by many members of the Mums Demand Action for Gun Sense in America group.
  • Members of Mothers Demand Action for Gun Sense in America attended a hearing at the New Hampshire State House on Tuesday, to advocate for a law that would allow firearms to be confiscated from risky individuals.
  • Shannon Watts, the founder of the group, told INSIDER they were “mocked” by several male lawmakers on the committee, who wore pearl necklaces to the event.
  • Photos of the male lawmakers wearing the necklaces went viral.
  • Kimberly Morin, president of the pro-gun Women’s Defence League of NH, said her group handed the necklaces out because they have become of a symbol of their group.

A women’s gun-control group says they were “mocked” by male lawmakers in New Hampshire on Tuesday, who wore pearl necklaces to a hearing they attended.

Dozens of members of the group Mums Demand Action for Gun Sense attended a meeting of the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Safety Committee to show their support for a law that would allow firearms to be confiscated from risky individuals.

Mums Demand Action’s founder, Shannon Watts, tweetedon Tuesday that about half of the 10 male lawmakers on the committee were “wearing pearls” to mock her group.

Nh lawmakers pearl necklaces 2Twitter/Shannon WattsThe group’s founder said she believes the men were ‘mocking’ their group.

INSIDER was only able to identify three lawmakers wearing pearls in the pictures Watts tweeted out. All three were male and Republican. None responded to our requests for comment.

The photos quickly went viral on Twitter, with many calling the move “sick,”“offensive,”a “disgrace”and “sexist.”

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who is also a Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential election, was among the many who weighed in, saying, “Mums who want to keep their kids safe from gun violence don’t deserve this.”

A pro-gun women’s group says they gave lawmakers the necklaces

When asked what message she thought the lawmakers were trying to send by wearing pearl necklaces, Watts said she interpreted it as accusing her group of “pearl clutching.”

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the act of “pearl clutching” is a “very shocked reaction, especially one in which you show more shock than you really feel in order to show that you think something is morally wrong.”

Kimberly Morin, president of the pro-gun Women’s Defence League of NH, contested this assessment. She told us that her group has been wearing and handing out pearls at similar events for years.

Womens defence league nhWomens’ Defence League of N.H.Members of the Women’s Defence League of N.H. attend a bill signing wearing pearls last year.

She said it all started at a hearing for constitutional carry bill a few years ago, where she and other members dressed up in business formal attire and pearls. After the event, she said members of Mums Demand told WMUR reporters that they were too intimidated to testify before the committee because they felt like they were in front of a firing squad (INSIDER was not immediately able to find a copy of this article).

Morin said she’s not sure what exactly the women were intimated about, but her group latched onto the pearls and has continued wearing them since then.

“When people like Shannon Watts try to push gun control for Michael Bloomberg in New Hampshire, they’re not going to know what’s going on,” Morin told INSIDER. “Anyone who followed her and did that made absolute and complete fools of themselves.”

Read more:
Survivors of gun violence are sharing pictures of their injuries and crime scenes: ‘This is our reality’

The anti-gun women’s group says that’s untrue

Watts doesn’t buy this story, telling INSIDER that she thinks it was made up once the lawmakers started getting heat on social media about their actions.

“The story that has materialised since this went viral makes very little sense and is not at all what people on the ground were seeing during the hearing,” Watts said.

Mums demand action 2Twitter/Shannon WattsMembers of the Mums Demand Action group are seen above at the New Hampshire State House on Tuesday.
Mums demand action 1Twitter/Shannon WattsThey attended the hearing to support a bill that would allow firearms to be confiscated from at-risk individuals.

Watts said she was “incredulous” when she first walked into the hearing and saw the men wearing pearl necklaces.

“Lawmakers should not be wearing symbols showing a preference or affiliation when making laws,” she told INSIDER. “Particularly when it comes to life-saving legislation and such serious discussion of people who had the courage to stand up and tell their stories.”

She said “this kind of thing happens” often at the gun-control events she goes to, such as two weeks ago in Reno, Nevada, when gun “extremists” told members of her group to be quiet when they started crying telling their personal stories of losing loved ones in gun-related tragedies.

But Watts said they don’t let these incidents get them down.

“It only makes us stronger. It only makes us more determined,” she said. “We will not be intimidated or silenced.”

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