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Connecticut—Malloy Gun Policies Propel Budget Woes

Connecticut—Malloy Gun Policies Propel Budget Woes

Photo credit: John Moore/Getty Images

We told you recently how Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has doubled down on his anti-gun extremism by pushing a plan to try to balance the budget on the backs of law-abiding gun owners.

With Connecticut facing a $3.6 billion budget deficit, Malloy proposed a budget that would dramatically increase the cost of pistol permit fees. The $70 local fee and the $70 state fee make the cost of an initial permit $140, with renewals being $70 every five years. But under Malloy’s proposal, the state fee would be increased to $300. With this $300 state fee and the existing $70 local fee, the total cost for an initial permit would be increased to $370, with $300 every five years for renewals. 

“Gov. Malloy is an out-of-touch elitist governor who loves to spend taxpayer dollars on his pet projects,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA executive director. “He overspent with the taxpayers' money and now he is trying to make up a budget shortfall on the backs of law-abiding gun owners, and it’s shameful.

“This is a punitive attempt to throw up a road block between average, law-abiding citizens in the state of Connecticut and their ability to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense. This tax would deny lower income citizens in Connecticut the protection that Governor Malloy enjoys at the expense of taxpayers who pay for his armed security detail. It’s the height of hypocrisy, it’s the height of elitism, and the NRA is going to do everything we can to make sure people there know the truth.” ​

​Obviously, punishing law-abiding gun owners is no good way to solve the state’s budget woes. But in one of those ironies we see so often when dealing with anti-gun politicians, a new report from the National Shooting Sports Foundation reveals that Malloy’s hatred for guns and gun owners played a significant part in creating the budget deficit.

A recent report at Newstimes.com details how Malloy’s extreme anti-gun policies have cost the firearms industry in Connecticut 3,000 jobs, and cost the state nearly $50 million in taxes.

“The rest of the industry in that same time frame has seen large increases across the country in job growth and economic impact,” said Jake McGuigan, senior director for state affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “Other states that did not pass adverse legislation to the Second Amendment did not see decreases in revenue.”

The NSSF’s economic impact report showed that from 2013 to 2016 the industry grew from $38 billion to $51 billion nationwide, while jobs increased from 245,000 to 300,000.

Yet in Connecticut, where Malloy has never found a gun control scheme he didn’t like, the overall economic impact of the firearms industry has decreased from $1.9 billion in 2013 to $1.2 billion in 2016, the NSSF said.

Much of the lost revenue likely can be attributed to gun companies choosing to leave the state because of Malloy’s activism, including his pushing for the state’s restrictive ban on semi-automatic rifles and normal-capacity magazines that gun-banners like to call “high-capacity.”

Connecticut-based Sturm Ruger & Co., Inc. built a new 220,000-square-foot facility in North Carolina, the company's first major expansion in more than 25 years, in part to escape the Second Amendment climate in Connecticut. Likewise, Colt's Manufacturing Co. moved its Colt Competition rifle manufacturing to Texas.

Additionally, PTR, maker of high-quality target rifles, moved about 45 manufacturing jobs from Connecticut to a factory near Myrtle Beach, S.C., in 2014. And historic firearms icon Mossberg expanded manufacturing at its Texas plant, installing a 116,000-square-foot addition, while lowering production at its North Haven facility.

Yet the exodus of storied gun companies isn’t all that has driven the decrease. As Scott Hoffman, president of Hoffman Gun Center and Indoor Shooting Range in Newington, Conn., told hartfordbusiness.com back in 2014, “Nobody in the gun business wants to be associated with Connecticut.”

At the time, Hoffman said his revenues had dropped 25 percent since the post-Sandy Hook gun control laws were passed.

“My family has been in business in Connecticut since 1919, and I can't wait to get … out of this state,” Hoffman said. “There are a lot of states in the union that love what I do.”

While Malloy’s proposed increase would be punitive to many lower income gun owners, NRA-ILA point out that the increase only represents a drop in the bucket for the state’s treasury—about $9 million against the $3.6 billion deficit. At the same time, it’s possible that the proposal, which would make it difficult for people to own guns, could drive down state income even more than the proposed increase in fees would bring in. 

That wouldn’t be good for anyone in Connecticut.

Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for nearly 17 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.