Friday, July 12, 2013

Blumenthal and Murphy To Connecticut Gun Manufactures -- “Get Lost”

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has sent to U.S. Representative John Larson a “Dear John” letter in the course of which the “H” word is prominently displayed:

“Our industry is offended by the hypocrisy (emphasis mine) of our elected officials in Congress and the state government that simultaneously advocate for legislation that pays homage to our industry’s heritage and legacy in Connecticut by establishing a National Park on the site of the legendary, iconic Colt factory, while at the same time pursue gun control legislation. As major contributors to the state’s economy, we find it unacceptable for lawmakers to propose banning our products and hindering the ability of Connecticut companies to grow their businesses; create more good-paying manufacturing jobs; and contribute hundreds of millions in taxes. Our Connecticut members are unwilling to trade valuable manufacturing jobs for ticket-taker jobs at a national park.”

An insult hurled randomly at Connecticut’s gun manufacturing industry by Governor Dannel Malloy while the state’s General Assembly was in the process of rushing through the legislative sausage making machine a gun restriction bill still rankles in the breasts of Connecticut’s arms manufactures.

On the Sunday after Mr. Malloy had signed into law a gun restriction bill that bypassed the usual committee hearings, Mr. Malloy visited CNN’s show “State of the Union,” friendly ground to “Big Think” progressives, and crowed, “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.”

Days later,Joe Bartozzi – the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the oldest family-owned and operated firearms manufacturer in America, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, located in North Haven, Connecticut – sent a letter of disapproval to Mr. Malloy:

“In a recent letter to us, you stated that you hoped our company would stay here in Connecticut and that we can have an ‘open and honest dialogue’ over issues where we may disagree. Your letter went on to say that there is in Connecticut ‘an administration that has been consistently dedicated to supporting the kind of precision manufacturing that takes place at your company.’ I would submit that your recent public (emphasis original) comments about our industry are not at all consistent with your private (emphasis original) letter to us. With all due respect, your comments came across as insulting and slanderous to our employees and to our industry, and appear to be politically motivated as opposed to constructive or meaningful.”

One of Connecticut’s gun manufacturing industries, PTR, a Bristol-based semi-automatic weapons manufacturer, already has been scooped up by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. PTR has moved both its operations and many young workers from Connecticut – once called “the Provision State” because since the American Revolution to the present date Connecticut had provided armaments and munitions to the U.S. Government – to a state whose governor knows when to bite her tongue. (See Proverbs 11:12-11:14 “Whoever despises his friend is destitute in heart. But the prudent man will remain silent. Whoever walks dishonestly reveals secrets. But whoever is of a faithful soul conceals what is confided by a friend. Where there is no governor, the people shall fall. But where there is much counsel, well-being shall be.”) Sturm Ruger of Southport Connecticut has begun the process of expanding its business in Mayodan,  bringing 500 new jobs to North Carolina over the next five years.

The reaction of U.S. Senator Chris Murphy to gun manufacturers in Connecticut who have begged to be at the legislative table as Connecticut’s General Assembly frames laws affecting their destiny in the state, like that of Senator Dick Blumenthal, may best be described as pugilistic: “The NSSF should go back to their bread and butter – scaring people into believing that the only way to stop gun violence in our schools is to put more guns in our schools.” Swept up in the beltway swirl, Mr. Murphy may be unaware that the Board of Finance in Newtown, the site of the Sandy Hook massacre, voted in March “to add $420,000 to the town's 2013-14 budget for school security and to open a path to grant money for private school security,” according to a report in Newtown Patch not widely reported by other media outlets in the state.

In a press release that did not once mention the word “gun,” Mr. Blumenthal praised Samuel Colt, producer of the “gun that won the West,” as an innovative manufacturer who “contributed to the social, cultural and architectural richness of Hartford.” Colt was to guns what P. T. Barnum was to circuses, and his most lasting and valuable contribution to Connecticut was in producing manufacturing jobs that now, largely owing to the dunderheadedness of publicity seeking senators who prefer gun museums to gun manufacturers, are moving in the direction of more welcoming states such as the Carolinas.

Neither Mr. Blumenthal nor Mr. Murphy have been successful  in persuading majority Democrats in the U.S. Senate to adopt a federal bill on gun legislation that is a much watered down version of Connecticut’s more stringent, job killing gun regulation bill, and both senators, it would appear, prefer “ticket-taker jobs at a national park” to “valuable manufacturing jobs,” the scorpion’s sting in the letters to which they have taken exception.   
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