Governor Dannel Malloy has backed a call by fellow Democrat and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin to remove the National Rifle Association as a state-recommended firearms training body.
State statutes on gun registration currently list the NRA as an acceptable source of training for new gun owners.
Malloy says he’s looking into alternative recommendations -- and he had harsh words for the NRA itself.
“They act, quite frankly, in some cases as a terrorist organization,” he told reporters Tuesday. “You want to make safer guns? - we will boycott your company. That’s who they are, that’s what they do. The NRA, as it exists today, is a far cry from the NRA that in 1999 said teachers shouldn’t carry weapons in schools. They have, in essence, become a terrorist organization.”
Malloy also renewed his call for Bass Pro Shops to follow the lead of other retailers and raise the age for the purchase of assault weapons to 21.
“Bass Pro has two operations in Connecticut and we’ve been partners with them in both locations,” he said, referencing tax incentives given to bring the company to the state. “We should be on the record as having requested that.”
Asked whether he wants to see the legal age for owning a gun raised to 21, Malloy said it might depend on the type of weapon.
The governor revealed that he first learned to use a gun at Boy Scout camp, and he received a certificate from the NRA.
“But that’s very different than training 11-year-old kids on guns of mass destruction. There’s a difference between hunting for pheasant and hunting for people,” he said. “I think any regulations that we draw or develop should be culturally adjusted, historically adjusted, but should have, first and foremost, the desire to keep people safer.”
NRA spokesperson Jennifer Baker responded to Malloy’s comments with a statement.
“The NRA is comprised of over five million law-abiding citizens many of whom are teachers, doctors, policeman, farmers , moms and dads residing in Connecticut. So let’s be clear Governor Malloy just called tens of thousands of his constituents terrorists,” Baker said in the statement.
She called the suggestion of removing NRA trainers from the permitting process in Connecticut an “absurd political stunt.”
“No organization in the world does more to promote the safe and responsible use of firearms than the NRA,” said Baker. “The NRA’s Basics of Pistol Shooting course is the best training available for anyone seeking to carry a concealed firearm for self-protection. Public safety isn’t improved by eliminating the NRA training and standards for Connecticut’s permit holders or by calling people who disagree with you terrorists.”