Christine Stuart file photo
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his Republican challenger Tom Foley touched on a number of policy issues Thursday during their third debate, including gun control.

The fifth question of the debate sponsored by the Courant and Fox 61 was whether a law passed in 2013 that banned assault weapons and high-capacity magazines should be left as it is, or repealed.

Malloy, who championed the legislation following the tragedy at Sandy Hook, said he’s proud of the changes the state made and believes they made people safer.

“I’m proud that we’re going to have background and have universal background checks and that we limit the capacity of a weapon to get 94 shots off in just a few minutes,” Malloy said. “That’s what happened at Sandy Hook school.”

Malloy added that “my opponent Tom Foley is telling you he would repeal that law.”

“I would never, ever do that,” Malloy said.

Foley responded by saying that “Gov. Malloy is again not telling the truth.”

“I never said I would repeal the gun law,” Foley said Thursday at the University of Connecticut. “And I won’t.”

Foley went on to explain that he doesn’t believe the bipartisan gun law that was passed made Connecticut any safer.

“This is a bill that’s going to inconvenience a lot of people,” Foley said. “I haven’t said I’d repeal it. I want to move on and address things that are more important going down the road in the future like jobs and the economy.”

Malloy took time to rebut Foley’s response

“Mr. Foley, I’ve had a lot of respect for you, over the years,” Malloy said. “But tonight you’ve just told somebody, everybody in the state something that’s not true. You have said repeatedly that you would sign a repeal of the gun laws. You have said it month, after month, after month.”

“And now that you understand people are catching onto what you would do to their children, to their streets in their urban environments, what you would do with these laws, now you want to fishtail around, and flop back and forth, and have it both ways,” Malloy said. “So be very clear ladies and gentlemen, there’s only one candidate out of three running for governor who will never sign a repeal, never advocate for repeal, and never has. My opponent has done those things.”

Foley said when Malloy started his rebuttal he said “let me be perfectly clear and then you said something that wasn’t true.”

“Let me tell you what I said. The governor doesn’t make the laws in Connecticut, the legislature makes the laws, so when I was asked if the legislature passed a bill to repeal parts of the gun law or repeal the gun law in its entirety I said I wouldn’t veto it,” Foley said. “That’s not saying I would seek repeal of the law. I never said that.”

Malloy looked at Foley in a disbelieving manner and the audience laughed to the point where they had to be silenced by the moderator.

Foley told a group of Second Amendment supporters back in January not to expect a repeal of the 2013 gun law.

“A legislative repeal with our current legislature or anything close to it is remote, no matter who is governor,” Foley told the Connecticut Citizens Defense League. “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.”

However, Foley said again after the debate Thursday that he would sign a repeal of the law if a bill reached his desk.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll last month, Malloy polls better on the issue of gun policy than Foley. Forty-six percent of voters felt Malloy does a better job of handling gun issues than Foley.

Foley does better with voters on pocketbook issues related to the economy.