Washington – The National Rifle Association on Tuesday reacted forcefully to Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin’s campaign to end the gun group’s role in Connecticut’s permitting process.
“No organization in the world does more to promote the safe and responsible use of firearms than the NRA,” said spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen. “The NRA’s Basics of Pistol Shooting course is the best training available for anyone seeking to carry a concealed firearm for self-protection. By eliminating the NRA training and standards for Connecticut’s permit holders, Mayor Bronin is putting politics above the safety of Connecticut citizens.”
State law requires Connecticut residents to go through basic safety training certified by the NRA or similar groups before obtaining a firearms permit.
Bronin, who is weighing a run for governor, wants the NRA out of that process. He told state leaders on Monday that he wants to make sure the state is not “inadvertently legitimizing or supporting or endorsing the NRA in any way.”
Late Tuesday, Bronin responded to the NRA’s attack.
“If the NRA had its way, there wouldn’t even be a permitting process in Connecticut,” the mayor said in a statement. “This is an organization that opposes permitting and universal background checks and would leave guns in the hands of domestic abusers.”
Bronin also said, “The idea that the NRA is an organization focused on gun safety is laughable.”
“The NRA’s main mission is to oppose common-sense gun laws and to threaten anyone who challenges the NRA agenda,” he said.
Meanwhile, the NRA says there are 2,833 NRA-certified firearms instructors in Connecticut and one million people who take an NRA firearms safety class nationwide each year
The NRA also said Connecticut is one of 15 states – including Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, that recognizes NRA training as a valid course of firearms instruction, if training is required for a concealed-carry permit.
On Tuesday, Gov. Dannel Malloy called Bronin’s proposal “a fair idea.”
“Quite frankly I am prepared to have the NRA’s name come out of any legislation we have, Malloy said. “I think we are looking — and have already started this down at our office in Washington – for different people to do that type of training and that type of certification.”
Malloy also weighed in on a proposal to raise the minimum age of long-gun ownership to 21.
“It depends what kind of gun you are talking about,” Malloy said. “I learned how to fire a gun when I was at Boy Scout camp, a .22 rifle. I even got a certificate from the NRA for it.”
However, Malloy said, “That’s very different than training 11-year-old kids on guns of mass destruction.”
“There is a difference between hunting for a pheasant and hunting for people, and I think any regulations that we withdraw or develop should be culturally adjusted, historically adjusted, but should desire to keep people safer,” the governor said.
Reporter Jacqueline Rabe Thomas contributed to this story.