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HARTFORD – More than 100 people gathered on the steps of the state Capitol to demand lawmakers take a softer stance on gun control.
“We’re in a space where our public servants are telling us that they know what’s best for us as opposed to serving the people,” says the founder of "Black Guns Matter", Maj Toure, who was the keynote speaker at the rally.
The rally came just two weeks to the day after Democratic lawmakers including Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Gov. Ned Lamont, held a gathering at the Capitol to call for stricter federal gun laws modeled after their home state.
Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said the rally Saturday was put together quickly in response.
“I was a little bit incensed at our politicians here in Connecticut trying to tell the rest of the country that Connecticut is leading the way with gun control and that it would be a good idea for other states or the federal government to pass gun control based on Connecticut’s policies,” Wilson said. “I think that in 2013, when we passed a ban against firearms that are commonly owned and held and possessed ... I think that was misguided. I know that there was a rush in 2013 for lawmakers to want to do something, but I don’t think those laws made anybody safer.”
The Connecticut Citizen's Defense League (CCDL) has one message for lawmakers in Connecticut and in Congress: Give us our guns.
“We’re really here to talk about how the Second Amendment is for everybody,” says Holly Sullivan, the event’s coordinator. “And what the Second Amendment means going forward and the history of where we’ve come from.”
The gun rally also calls on the federal government to not adopt Connecticut’s gun control laws. This is after Governor Lamont and Senator Blumenthal stood on the very same Capitol steps and urged the federal government to adopt them.
Connecticut’s senators have lead the push by Democrats to get Congress to pass expanded background checks and tighter federal gun laws such as bans on large capacity magazines and assault weapons based on similar laws in Connecticut. Blumenthal is also working on legislation with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to introduce legislation based on Connecticut’s “red flag law,” which passed in the 1999.
"You don’t need more red flag laws when you already have laws that call for public threats against anybody,” says CCDL President, Scott Wilson. “If somebody is convicted of a felony or domestic violence; if a person is mentally unstable, they go into the federal database and they’re adjudicated right there from being able to possess guns.”
The CCDL rally, organized in conjunction with the Connecticut Libertarian party, featured keynote speaker Maj Toure, founder of Black Guns Matter, an organization that advocates the right to keep and bear arms. Toure also spoke Friday night at the University of New Haven.
“We, as freedom loving patriots, are failing at involving urban America from different ethnicities,” Toure said of the gun rights movement. “We are failing ... the reality is we have not effectively engaged urban America.”
CCDL has co-filed an amicus brief with the National Rifle Association in support of gunmaker Remington, which was sued by families of some of the victims in the Sandy Hook School shooting. Remington has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a Connecticut ruling that reinstated a part of a lawsuit against Remington.
About the Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL):
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League was formed in 2009 by a small group of concerned citizens as a non-partisan organization to advocate second amendment rights in the state of Connecticut. Since their founding, the group has grown to over 32,000 members from across the state. Thanks to this large supportive base, the CCDL has become a fixture at the state capitol, and well-recognized by committees that see firearms related bills. As the go-to organization in the state they are consulted regularly by lawmakers who have questions and concerns about pending legislation or existing laws.