They may not have been able to stop the Democrat-controlled General Assembly and governor from implementing stricter gun control laws in 2013, but Second Amendment advocates are staying involved in the political process.
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League encouraged its members to get involved with the political process so they can support candidates that share their view of the Second Amendment. Part of that process included an effort to get their members into mix of 1,253 delegates to the Republican convention this weekend.
The group is focused mostly on the governor’s race. There will be five candidates vying for the Republican nomination for governor Saturday, but there are only two candidates that Second Amendment supporters are looking at: Tom Foley and Joe Visconti.
Scott Wilson, president of the CCDL, said the organization has been expressing the sentiment that they’re not in favor of Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney or Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. McKinney, who represents Newtown where the school shooting occurred, voted in favor of the stricter gun regulations and until recently Boughton was a member of Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Wilson, who is not one of the 1,253 delegates, said he happens to like Foley.
When Foley addressed the CCDL in January, he stopped short of calling for a repeal of the stricter gun laws.
“A legislative repeal with our current legislature or anything close to it is remote, no matter who is governor. But I will promise you this — if I am governor any further attempts at restrictions on law-abiding gun owners by our legislature will stop at the governor’s office,” he said.
Wilson said Thursday that he understands Foley has to “choose his words carefully” when he’s speaking to the public. He said he believes Foley would generally support the Second Amendment and the rest of the constitution if he’s elected.
But the five Republican gubernatorial candidates will need to position themselves carefully on the issue if the results of a recent poll are accurate.
A Quinnipiac University poll released this week found that 56 percent of Connecticut voters support the new stricter gun laws, while 38 percent opposed them.
Quinnipiac University Poll Director Doug Schwartz said those who would vote solely based on the gun control laws favored the stricter laws, which bodes well for Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
“Overall, public opinion is on the side of the new gun control laws,” Schwartz said. “It would appear the pro-gun control folks have the advantage on intensity. In that sense, it does seem to be an issue that would favor Gov. Malloy.”
Wilson said he doesn’t believe people are clear about their own views on guns until they’re educated. He said once they learn about what’s at risk when lawmakers chip away at these constitutional rights, then they begin to understand. He said the proof is the increase in the number of gun permits being issued over the past few years.
“Not every citizen has a pistol permit, but that doesn’t mean they don’t understand the issue,” Wilson said.
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League is fighting the new gun laws in court and is expected to file another brief in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals today. To date they have raised more than $500,000 for its legal defense fund.
At an April rally they vowed revenge at the ballot box while they continued to fight the new law in court.