Attorney Norm Pattis and gun owner rights advocate Brandon Tischer Monday at Church Street presser. Credit: Paul Bass photo

Gun owners took aim at Gov. Ned Lamont Monday even before he wielded a pen to try to curtail gun violence.

Two separate groups announced plans to file suit to stop a new gun control law that will ban openly carrying guns in public and expand a previous ban on assault weapons. The State Senate passed the bill early Saturday; Gov. Lamont is expected to sign it.

The moment he does, attorney Norm Pattis vowed at a press conference Monday outside New Haven’s U.S. District Courthouse at 141 Church St., he will file a federal lawsuit seeking to stop the open-carry provision from taking effect.

“As soon as the ink dries on Ned Lamont’s signature, it’s ready to go,” Pattis declared, waving a copy of the motion. The high-profile attorney — who on Friday filed his latest motion on behalf of client Alex Jones and on Tuesday plans to file another on behalf of The Proud Boys  — stood at the press conference alongside Brandon Tischer of We The Patriots, the group he’ll represent in the Connecticut open-carry suit.

Tischer, a 35-year-old from Wolcott who’s looking to launch a barbecue business, said he usually openly carries his .45-caliber 1911 pistol.

“If I’m not showing I’m protecting myself, I’m going to have to use it,” he said. 

He said he came to the press conference unarmed because it’s in front of a federal courthouse.

Pattis said the main argument behind his suit is based on Article I Section 15 of the state constitution, which reads: ​“Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”

That’s an even stronger protection than offered by the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, which doesn’t specifically mention self-defense, Pattis argued: ​“The right to defend yourself doesn’t say you can only defend yourself behind closed doors …” He does plan to challenge the ban on Second Amendment grounds as well, he said.

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State Senate President Martin Looney, a backer of the newly passed law, said Monday he’s confident that it passes both state and federal Constitutional muster. People ​“can still carry guns. They can’t carry them openly and alarm other people,” he said. He argued that opponents of the new bill cite language written in the Bill of Rights that is based on outdated notions of weaponry. The technology has exponentially changed the pace of lethality dramatically since the era of muskets, he noted: ​“Today when you have these assault weapons, you’re talking about military weapons in the hands of deranged cvilians in many cases. Sandy Hook proved that a single deranged teenager can be as lethal as an entire platoon in the Civil War.”

State Rep. Matthew Blumenthal, a legislative Judiciary Committee member and another bill backer, said laws and decisions dating back to the Colonial and immediate post-Constitutional era have repeatedly upheld state open-carry limits: ​“There are very good reasons why the government would want to prohibit open carry for the safety and the security of its residents.” He cited an opinion by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in the Heller case reaching the same conclusion. ​“Nothing about the bill that was passed here would interfere with an individual’s ability to carry a firearm properly possessed in defense of themselves,” Blumenthal argued.

In a separate case, the National Association for Gun Rights announced Monday it has filed a motion in federal court seeking a preliminary injunction against the state enacting the provision of the bill that strengthens Connecticut’s ban on AR-15 and other assault-style weapons. It was one of seven suits the group filed against newly approved state-level assault weapons bans.