The head of the state’s largest gun rights group responded to attacks from the campaign to re-elect Gov. Dannel P. Malloy calling the Connecticut Citizens Defense League “a far-right gun group,” The Hartford Courant Capitol Watch blog reported Tuesday.
“I’d like to go on the record and say that we’re not,” CCDL President Scott Wilson replied. “We’re family people. We have jobs. We pay taxes. There are gay people in our organization, women in our organization, libertarians and Democrats in our organization. Our organization is open to anyone who believes in protecting Second Amendment rights.”
The group, which has not endorsed Republican challenger Tom Foley at this writing, understands he is a far cry from a perfect candidate on guns. The choice they face is to decide which of their two options available to them -- allowing a committed gun-banner to re-secure political power without significant opposition, or sending a message to anti-gun politicians that there is a price for undermining rights by supporting a moderate -- is preferable.
That has not stopped media sympathetic to Malloy from offering speculations such as “Kiss of Death or Silver Bullet?” implying that political support from gun owners will doom a candidate’s chances. That is very similar to what gun owners are seeing unfold in Virginia’s Senate race, with The Washington Post suggesting NRA backing will work against Republican Ed Gillespie.
“It’s unconscionable to me that Tom Foley would sell his soul to the devil — not only his soul but the soul of all of my residents and the safety of my residents and my community,” East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc chimed in, further corroborating that the “national conversation on guns” the “progressives” claim they want to have is heavy on insulting hyperbole and leaves no room for dissent.
If CCDL does decide to weigh in for Foley, that will no doubt produce a schism between hard core gun activists, who will entertain no thought of compromise, and those who see their political mission not as one of support for a squishy candidate, but of exacting retribution against a governor who would turn gun owners into political criminals, and then treat them like enemies of the state.
The one certainty is, if it looks like a substantial threat to Malloy’s reelection is emerging, the rhetoric about extremism will intensify, and billionaires opposed to guns in private hands they do not control will spare no expense at controlling the election message as well.