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Foley Stops Short of Calling For Repeal of 2013 Gun Laws

by Hugh McQuaid | Jan 15, 2014 12:18am
(9) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Civil Liberties, Election 2014, Law Enforcement, Legal, Public Safety, Middletown, Newtown

Hugh McQuaid photo

Tom Foley

Republican Tom Foley told hundreds of Connecticut gun owners that he would veto future gun control restrictions if he is elected governor. But he disappointed some gun owners Tuesday night when he stopped short of calling for repeal.

Foley, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, addressed a monthly meeting of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League in Middletown.

The Second Amendment advocacy group has seen its membership grow significantly over the last year as the state debated and adopted stricter gun regulations in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting.

Gun owners opposed the new gun control restrictions, which increased the number of guns banned in Connecticut and prohibited the sale of large ammunition magazines. CCDL has filed a complaint in federal court claiming the law is unconstitutional.

Foley acknowledged that many Second Amendment advocates are hoping to see the law repealed, but he told the group not to expect that change to come from the legislature or the governor’s office.

“A legislative repeal with our current legislature or anything close to it is remote, no matter who is governor. But I will promise you this — if I am governor any further attempts at restrictions on law-abiding gun owners by our legislature will stop at the governor’s office,” he said.

Tuesday’s meeting was well attended. CCDL members crowded the Elks Lodge Crystal Ballroom in Middletown. Hundreds sat in rows of chairs and listened to the candidate while others stood along the room’s walls or listened from the lobby. Scott Wilson, the group’s president, estimated the crowd at around 1,000.

Foley, who lost to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy by 6,404 votes in 2010, told the group that their votes could have made a difference in that race.

“I lost the last election by only 6,400 votes, less than half a percent. If CCDL and others who want a government that listens . . . had generated just 2-3 percent more votes among you, I would be your governor now and you would be having a very different conversation,” he said.

Hugh McQuaid photo

Tom Foley addresses the crowd

Foley said if he had been elected “the outcome” of the response to the Sandy Hook shooting “would have been different.” He said he would have focused the response more on addressing failures in the state’s mental health system. Foley said the bill also should have done more to address “non law-abiding citizens.”

Foley described himself as a sportsman and a gun owner, but not someone who carried a gun for protection. He urged the group to rally around “electable alternatives” to the state’s current leadership and suggested they contribute on his website.

Wilson, the group’s president, called Foley’s remarks a good start at reaching out to a group of potential supporters.

“There has been questions from some of the gun owners as far as how staunch his support of the Second Amendment is. I hope some of that was clarified tonight,” he said.

Wilson said his group will be inviting other potential candidates to speak as well. He said he and many other gun owners are waiting to hear candidates address a host of other issues in addition to gun control.

“My primary focus is on firearms but I have a lot of other issues I’m concerned about. Taxes, the economy,” he said. “I work for a logistics company and our business is a lot slower now than it has been and I’ve been at the company for 24 years.”

Other CCDL members said it will be strictly gun control driving them to the polls this year. Dow Shields, a 26-year-old Bristol resident, said he has registered as a Republican and intends to vote in a primary if there is one. He said a candidate’s position on the Second Amendment will determine who gets his vote.

“The last time I cared this much about politics I was in high school,” he said.

Shields said he looked forward to hearing from other candidates. He said he was not ready to throw his support behind Foley, whom he wished had advocated an outright repeal of the new law.

“I wish there was someone else,” he said, adding that he was not sold on Foley’s promise to veto future gun control efforts. “What more can they take away? I mean, they can I guess but I’d like to go backward, not forwards.”

The Democratic Party sent a tracker to record Foley’s address to the group and soon after the event Democratic spokesman James Hallinan issued a statement accusing Foley of pandering to the National Rifle Association.

“He is so desperate to buy an election using the money he’s made off of the blood, sweat, and tears of hard working people, like he has attempted to do in the past, that he’ll even cozy up to the NRA and roll back Connecticut’s common sense gun legislation,” Hallinan said.

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(9) Comments

posted by: Chien DeBerger | January 15, 2014  9:29am

Nice try Tommie! You don’t have my vote!

posted by: Nutmeg87 | January 15, 2014  10:42am

This attitude that gun owners vote the best “gun rights” candidate is why we lost the last 2 Presidential elections…  Registered Democrats outnumber GOP counterparts > 100%...  And much like the national landscape, the independents will decide the election (especially in CT)...  Although its not to my liking, Foley is right - with the legislature vastly in control by liberals, there is NO chance in an immediate legislative roll-back… Whats important is that we need a counter-weight to the legislature so that the past 4 years doesnt repeat !!!!  Our last GOP Governors would not have signed the anti-gun law… 

We have to focus on bringing an “Electable” candidate fot Governor and get out the vote !!!  As the State gets near Detroit levels of unemployment, high debt loads and even higher taxes to working class voters who have to pay for all the entitlement programs & union deals…  there MAY finally be a new consensus that we need change in Hartford…

We can not afford to loose more rights, and disposable income to taxes if Malloy is re-elected ...  So just to satisfy our emotions and elect the “best” 2nd Amendment Rights person is just cutting off our nose despite our face…

posted by: JamesBronsdon | January 15, 2014  12:03pm

Hallinan’s rhetoric - “using the money he’s made off of the blood, sweat, and tears of hard working people” - may be quite telling. Is there something specific to Foley’s entrepeneurship (whatever it was, I only have a very general sense) that makes him an exploiter, or is it as to any entrepeneur who hires and employs working people and pays their wages? I get the sense the animus may be inspired by Foley the individual (fine), but that the comment would probably be applicable to and used against any entrepeneur who chose to run as a Republican. candidate.

posted by: Kathy Lauretano | January 15, 2014  12:04pm

I attended the CCDL meeting and Amb. Tom Foley gave a good speech. For those paying close attention, his choice of words made it clear where his sympathies are and in regards to the repeal question he left the door to signing repeal legislation wide open and welcoming.  He is a realist, however, and unless we break the Socialist super majority in the General Assembly, there will be no repeal legislation for any Governor to sign and Tom Foley is not one to promise pie-in-the-sky. His diplomatic training in parsing his words carefully may not have served him well in this instance but only time will tell.  Do not dismiss his candidacy cavalierly.

posted by: art vandelay | January 15, 2014  12:31pm

art vandelay

Rowland called for the repeal of Weicker’s Income Tax.  It never happened.  Foley is now calling for the repeal of Malloy’s Gun Laws.  It too will never happen.  The Connecticut Legislature is dominated by left wing socialists. Until the Republican Party gets serious about overturning this situation, it’s business as usual Republican Governor or not.  The only chance Connecticut has would be for the gun rights advocates to take over the Republican Party which quite frankly is NOT a bad idea.  The State Republican Central Committee has failed Connecticut miserably.

posted by: StanMuzyk | January 15, 2014  1:11pm

Anyone who would dismiss a successful businessman in Tom Foley—and stick with a fiscal failure in Gov. Dan Malloy—isn’t helping “to save our sinking ship.” However our voters “who vote for a living” will stick with “Dan -The Social Benefits Man”—as they outnumber working class voters. Malloy - follows the success of his mentor—Pres. Barack Obama -  ‘who won election with the votes of the deciding social benefit voters.” Malloy has been successful with getting the votes of people who don’t pay income taxes.
“The trickle down economy” he embraced from his mentor—is keeping him in office.

posted by: CT Jim | January 16, 2014  3:23pm

What a fine diversified group of citizens.

posted by: StanMuzyk | January 16, 2014  8:36pm

@Art:  The state Republican Central Committee has nor failed Connecticut miserably. They can’t put up a wasteful spending governor like Dannel Malloy—a politician who commands the votes of the “Voter’s who vote for a Living.” The taxpaying working voters are now the minority.  No Republican governor’s candidate can win the predominent social
benefit vote in Connecticut.
A successful businessman like Tom Foley—lost the last election against Malloy—as our current voting majority—do not want a leader “who will balance the books.”  That spells out to less public assistance money for the voter’s who now decide elections.

posted by: CT Jim | January 17, 2014  11:15am

I don’t see what the story is here. These voters are his base. If he can’t convince them to vote for him who really cares. Look at their buddy on Duck Dynasty. They all get on social media screaming support Phil and what happens? The ratings plunge and that series will shortly be history. Just because these guys are loud, rude and obnoxious doesn’t give them more than one vote. fact is they have all voted republican for 20 years…Big deal