With just over a week to go until voters head to the polls, gun activists rallied in Hartford yesterday, encouraging their supporters to vote next Tuesday.
The activists are working to unseat Gov. Dannel Malloy, who signed into law one of the most restrictive gun laws in the country following the Dec. 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League hosted the conference, where Second Amendment activists — Timothy Knight from Colorado and Sean Maloney from Ohio — spoke in favor of gun rights. Although neither speaker disclosed their political affiliation, the CCDL, which is a non-partisan organization that works to protect Second Amendment rights, has endorsed Republican Tom Foley for governor.
“We endorsed [Foley] and that’s because we’re comfortable that he’s not going to sign anything that will infringe our rights further,” said Scott Wilson, the president of the CCDL.
The press conference is part of a two-day tour including radio talks and visits to firearms retailers in an effort to encourage gun enthusiasts to vote in the upcoming gubernatorial election.
The state’s expanded gun control law requires that all Connecticut residents go through a background check before purchasing a gun. It also requires ammunition purchasers to have special permits and eligibility certificates as well as a valid form of identification, in addition to limiting detachable magazines to no more than 10 rounds.
Lenny Benedetto, vice president of the CCDL, said that unless a Republican wins the election, residents will continue to have their Second Amendment rights infringed upon.
“I already know that if the state of Connecticut keeps going the way it goes, it will empower the liberals who are the gun grabbers to continue,” Benedetto said. “They will keep trying to grab pieces of our rights.”
Both speakers at yesterday’s press conference are known for their efforts to preserve gun rights across the nation.
Knight led the recall of two Colorado state senators, John Morse and Angela Giron, after they supported more stringent gun control laws last year in response to the Aurora, Colorado, shooting. Maloney, a leader at the Buckeye Firearms Association, said that he got involved with the Colorado recall because he could not stand by and watch passively as constitutional rights were curtailed.
Knight mentioned in an interview after the press conference that gun control is issue of national importance.
“What needs to happen is that politicians need to start listening to their constituents,” Knight said.
A blog post on the CCDL website yesterday stressed that Foley is the right choice for governor because unlike unaffiliated candidate Joe Visconti, Foley understands what measures he can reasonably take as governor.
Both Knight and Maloney stressed that they are in Connecticut simply to motivate people to exercise their right to vote, not to support a specific candidate.
“I’m not here to endorse the candidate one way or another. I’m just here to get like minded people to get out and vote and make a difference,” Knight said.
Knight also pointed out that often people do not vote, but then complain about decisions made by the government. He said that this contributed to why he was speaking at the rally yesterday.
Both Knight and Maloney are also running to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association.
“Whether I’m on the board or not, I’m never going to stop my fight for freedom,” Maloney said.
Foley’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment on his position about gun control.
The CCDL has 16,000 members.