A Connecticut Democrat is trying to pressure NASCAR to remove the National Rifle Association as title sponsor of a Sprint Cup Series race on April 13.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) last week sent a letter to Brian France, chairman and CEO of NASCAR, asking that the decision be reconsidered because of the NRA’s “unprecedented extreme position in the debate over the proper response” to the Sandy Hook shooting.

“By giving the NRA sponsorship of a major NASCAR race, NASCAR has crossed a line – you have decided to put yourself in the middle of a political debate, and you have taken a side that stands in opposition to the wishes of so many Newtown families who support common sense gun reform.  Whether or not this was your intention, your fans will infer from this sponsorship that NASCAR and the NRA are allies in the current legislative debate over gun violence,” the letter states. “By announcing this new partnership at the very height of Congress’s deliberations over gun reform, NASCAR has inserted itself into a political debate that has nothing to do with the business of NASCAR.  To me, this seems an unwise break with precedent.”

On MSNBC this morning, Murphy noted that both the CEO and the NASCAR foundation donated $50,000 to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund in the wake of the tragedy.

“To announce that the NRA is going to be sponsoring a major NASCAR race at the height of a legislative debate in which the NRA has taken a pretty extreme position, not just against the assault weapons ban but even against background checks, I just think is out of bounds,” the senator said.

“I’m not going to introduce legislation to stop them from doing it. But I think in the interest of a lot of their fans who support the kind of common sense gun measures that we’re debating here, they should stay out of this debate.”

Murphy charged that the NRA has become a “captive” of the gun industry.

“And the industry is now reliant on feeding this paranoia about government out to get you, because 50 percent of Americans don’t own guns any longer. In fact, it is a very small percentage of Americans who are hoarding and stockpiling guns because they have been fed this paranoia of government by the NRA,” he said.

“So the NRA has taken an extreme position in this debate in part because the business model of the gun industry, which funds the NRA, is now dependent on this small number of people buying more and more and more dangerous weapons.”