The Connecticut governor’s latest temper tantrum demonstrates why firearms owners don’t trust him when he calls for a national conversation. He only listens to himself.
Gov. Dannel Malloy declared this week the NRA is a “terrorist organization.” The second most-hated governor (only New Jersey’s former Gov. Chris Christie edged him out for the top spot), Malloy has a propensity for trying to deflect attention away from poor performance.
We’ve been down this road before. Gov. Malloy lashes out when he feels like no one is paying him enough attention. It’s understandable. After all, the governor’s policies of continually raising taxes while failing to bring bloated government spending under control have badly hurt the state’s economy, helping to push out major employers, such as General Electric, Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Aetna to other states. We’ve seen him do this before.
CNN and the Attack on Industry
The firearms industry that first built Connecticut’s industrial base was Malloy’s target in 2013 when he sat for an interview with CNN’s Andrea Crowley where he made this inflammatory remark:
“What this is about is the ability of the gun industry to sell as many guns to as many people as possible — even if they are deranged, even if they are mentally ill, even if they have a criminal background. They don’t care. They want to sell guns.”
We asked for an apology. Connecticut-based O.F. Mossberg & Sons asked for an apology on behalf of its state workforce. We’re still waiting. Nor do we expect any acknowledgment that the industry trade association headquartered in his state has made meaningful contributions to improving public safety.
NSSF launched the FixNICS campaign in 2013 and through the end of 2017, the number of disqualifying mental health records submitted to NICS increased by 200 percent to nearly 5 million, from about 1.7 million in December 2012.
NSSF is working with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on a bill that’s co-sponsored by his own Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), hardly a pro-gun senator, to pass S. 2135 to ensure the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) works as intended.
How about the fact that NSSF works with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on matching rewards for thefts at gun stores as part of Operation Secure Store.
Then there’s our long-time partnership with ATF on the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy campaign to educate retailers and inform the public to help prevent straw purchases.
Let’s not forget the Project ChildSafe program through which NSSF has passed out more than 37 million free gun locks mostly through local police departments, and the partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to recognize the signs and know how to intervene to prevent suicide.
Doesn’t Know What Terrorism Means
Still, Gov. Malloy’s latest tantrum, equating an organization whose members choose to exercise their rights and protect their children with a firearm with that of a terrorist group, is way beyond insulting. It’s reprehensible.
I’m a Marine. I fought terrorists. The five million Americans of the NRA — many of whom are veterans — are patriots. Terrorism is, by definition, the use of unlawful violence, especially against civilians, to achieve a political goal.
The terrorists I fought wanted to destroy everything we hold dear as Americans.
Gov. Malloy would do well to remember that King George III thought gun-owning American colonists were terrorists, too. Governor, we’re tired of your media attention seeking insults. We are not your subjects. We are citizens and we will not be vilified.
About the Author
Mark Oliva is Manager, Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition and industries. He is a retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant with 25 years of service, including tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Albania and Zaire.