Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin recently sent a letter to Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and state legislative leadership requesting that the National Rifle Association (NRA) be removed from all state statutes regarding gun registration and licensing.
Currently, Connecticut General Statute Section 29-28 requires “a safety or training course in the use of pistols and revolvers… Utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.”
The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s website also includes the NRA in its requirements,
“You are required to complete a handgun safety course, which must consist of no less than the NRA’s ‘Basic Pistol Course,’” the department’s website says.
In the letter, Bronin said he is troubled by Connecticut’s inadvertent support for the NRA and believes that including mention of the organization in a state law bolsters the perceived power of the gun lobby.
“It is strange and concerning to me that Connecticut’s statutes and policies serve to elevate and legitimize the NRA,” Bronin said. “The independent Connecticut businesses that provide firearms training are not subsidiaries of the NRA and they do important work, but because of state statute and policies, their instructors must get training from the NRA.”
The NRA responded to Bronin’s letter by emphasizing their gun safety training and what they feel is the training’s role in keeping Americans safe.
“No organization in the world does more to promote the safe and responsible use of firearms than the NRA,” NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said. “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.”
Bronin said he feels there is no need for the government to subsidize the NRA through the statutes. He also proposed a plan for private businesses to provide independent training.
“We can ensure the responsible businesses that train residents in gun safety are prepared to provide appropriate training without involving the NRA or similar groups, and we should,” Bronin said. “I am asking the General Assembly, in partnership with the State Police and any other appropriate agencies, to call for development of a curriculum that instructors can use to teach safe operation and storage of guns, as well as Connecticut laws related to legal gun use—as the statute already allows.”
President of UConn Against Gun Violence Elizabeth Charash said she too believes the NRA has no place in state statute but questions what actions will be taken in response to this letter.
“If the State wishes to protect its citizens and stipulates that a State agency can also permit, arguably from a more nonpartisan body of knowledge, they should provide such mechanisms for their citizens to access,” Charash said. “This is just a letter, and requires the support of constituents across the state to concurrently apply pressure to the legislature if the letter’s language is to be turned into action.”
Andrew Miano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.