HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Representatives of Connecticut's gun industry went to the Capitol on Monday to speak out against attempts to ban certain guns and push for restrictions to prevent people with mental problems from obtaining weapons.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc., the industry's trade group, and several manufacturers said they hope the venerable industry has a say in efforts by the legislature to curb gun violence. The move follows the killings of 20 children and six educators at a Newtown elementary school in December. A 52-member legislative task force met Monday.
"As we consider the necessary changes to make our society safer, we have a responsibility to consider the ramifications on the firearms and sporting industry that has contributed much to the state's history and culture," said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the foundation.
Keane and industry executives who met with the media said they are not offering specific proposals to the task force, but said any new rules or legislation should focus on restricting access to guns. Banning weapons such as automatic or semiautomatic weapons would jeopardize jobs, they said.
Joe Bartozzi, senior vice president and general counsel at O.F. Mossberg, said the industry wants lawmakers to strengthen background checks of potential gun buyers. Many states fail to provide mental health records and felony conviction information in a timely fashion, he said.
"I think access to firearms is a root cause of this problem, and if we don't address that we're in big trouble," he said.