HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut’s largest gun owner group, the Connecticut Citizen’s Defense League was joined today by the National Rifle Association and the Newtown-based gun industry trade group the National Shooting Sports Foundation to opposed the governor’s pistol fee hike.
“The ability to protect and defend yourself should not be reserved only for the wealthy,” said the N.R.A.’s Connecticut State Liaison Christopher Kopacki.
“Governor Dannel Malloy is looking to partially fill a projected $1.4 billion state budget deficit at the expense of law abiding citizens,” said Jake McGuirgan, the Senior Director for Government Relations for the N.S.S.F.
Some people learn to shoot for protection, others do it for sport and in some cases for therapy, like Karen Uberti, who came all the way from New Haven to explain that she can’t afford the price.
“I’m a service connected 100 percent service connected disabled veteran on a very fixed income. It’s hard for me to juggle my bills as it is,” said Uberti.
James Ritchie, who’s about to retire came from Bristol.
“All this is is really going after us lawful, law abiding gun owners to try to stop us from doing it. When I retire I’m going to be living on Social Security, I can’t afford this,” said Ritchie.
There was also a group of young mothers with their children today who echo the same argument, it’s cost prohibitive.
“When I think of the women that I shoot with and the women that I get to know; most of them are on single income households, single parents, single working moms,” said Holly Sullivan of Southbury.
Lawmakers lining up to oppose the fee hike are making a new argument; that it’s unconstitutional to raise general funds for the government on a fundamental constitutional right, like the one to bear arms.
“I can tell you that New York City has a substantially higher permit fee for a shorter period of time than we do and no successful challenge has been brought,” said Malloy.
The governor did say Friday that part of the money raised should be used to streamline the pistol permit process, including hiring more people to run it.