Courtesy of Cheryl Lemos
Scott Wilson, left, hands the CCDL’s gavel to Holly Sullivan (Courtesy of Cheryl Lemos)

HARTFORD, CT – Connecticut’s largest grassroots advocacy group supporting the Second Amendment elected Holly Sullivan as its president.

Sullivan will succeed Scott Wilson, who has been president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL) for the past 10 years.

Wilson announced he was stepping down at the end of November.

“The organization was built and designed to be passed along to the future,” Wilson who started the organization in 2009, said.

CCDL was the first state group focused solely on the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense purposes.

“I feel that we have somebody who is a strong individual who cares about the Second Amendment and gun owners’ rights in the state of Connecticut,” Wilson said referring to Sullivan.

Sullivan, a Southbury resident and mother, said women are the fastest-growing demographic of gun owners.

“I’m grateful he feels he can leave the organization in my hands,” Sullivan said, referring to Wilson.

She said sometimes the organization is unfairly labeled as a “good ol’ boy” club, but she said that the organization’s 34,000 members are an open and diverse group.

Sullivan said that from the time she was eight years old she would sit with her dad and reload his ammunition on Thursday and Friday nights. She said she first got involved with the CCDL in 2013 after the Sandy Hook school shooting. She helped lobby against Senate Bill 1160, which changed what firearms were legal and capped magazine capacity in Connecticut.

She said she didn’t feel the same way as the mothers who rallied against access to firearms. Instead, she said she helped organize a group of mothers who focus on responsible gun ownership.

But before getting involved with the CCDL Sullivan was involved on a national level with the DC Project, which is another 501(c)4 organization “that brings women, at least one from each state, to Washington D.C., to establish relationships with their legislators and reveal the faces and stories of firearms owners and 2nd Amendment supporters.”

The presidency of the CCDL is a volunteer position. Sullivan has a master’s degree in business and works as the head of human resources for a Connecticut company.

She will be joined by a new executive board that includes Frank Russello as vice president and Michele McBrien as secretary. Robert Starr will remain in his current position as treasurer.

“I would personally like to thank the outgoing board members for their tireless dedication and commitment to the organization and our membership. I’d like to recognize Scott Wilson for 10 incredible years of service, vision, and diplomacy,” Sullivan said. “The work of all past board members since the foundation of the organization has paved the way for a new leadership team to hold steadfast our mission to protect the unalienable right of all citizens to keep and bear arms, for the defense of both self and state, through public enlightenment and legislative action. I am confident the incoming Executive Board will defend the fundamental rights of all Connecticut residents.”