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June 23, 2016

Conn. Is in Tough Fiscal Shape, but Gov. Malloy Always Has Time for Anti-Gun Politics


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy
2010 Reuters file photo

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy always seems to find the time to for gun control politics and gestures. On the Friday before Father’s Day, he called upon federally licensed firearms retailers to voluntarily refrain from selling semiautomatic firearms (apparently of all types and calibers) on Father’s Day itself.  “We should show respect, through a symbolic gesture, to those who lost loved ones in Orlando. It’s one day — and one day only. Connecticut gun sellers can voluntarily avoid selling semi-automatic weapons for 24 hours. It’s the right thing to do and the respectful thing to do.”

The Governor has never hesitated to denigrate and diminish gun owners and to conflate legal gun ownership with criminal misuse. Now, we can add terrorism to his conflation.

In Connecticut you need a state permit to buy a handgun, a long-gun eligibility certificate to receive a rifle or shotgun and, if you don’t have either of these, an ammunition purchase certificate, if you even want to buy a box of shells to shoot trap.  All these certificates require an application process and fee. That’s in addition to the federal background check done for all firearms purchases. So, it’s not as if the laws could be made much tougher in the Constitution State. The only thing that would be better, apparently, would be no sales. We hear that the Governor’s request fell flat.

But this is a pattern.

Malloy was among the state and local leaders the White House invited to Washington, D.C. for a gun control forum in late May. Malloy was there mainly to rub shoulders with the establishment power brokers, but also to discuss the gun laws he has championed in Connecticut, including the sweeping and punitive gun control legislation passed hurriedly by the state General Assembly in 2013, following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Luckily, his visit didn’t take time away from the meetings that he doesn’t have with state legislators. As it was discovered by the Associated Press, the governor’s meetings with members of the General Assembly in his Capitol office are few and far between.  Malloy’s lack of contact with state lawmakers, even those of his own party, signals either a lack of patience in dealing with elected officials who may have different ideas, or in working to find compromise amid the tough choices of politics economics in Connecticut these days.  Either way, what’s lacking is leadership.

His hobnobbing with fellow politicians of gun control is also not affecting his effort to prevent the public from getting non-partisan analysis of the state’s fiscal situation.  Observers have noted that his initiative will make it harder for the citizens of Connecticut to track deficit forecasts, so many see it as simply the latest of his schemes to portray himself as Connecticut’s foremost financial authority, while the state slides even deeper into debt. To make matters worse, the state has a falling bond rating so the state will have to pay more to borrow — compounding the issue.

Even if he was busy at work in Connecticut, it is unlikely he’d be able to stop another major state employer from possibly moving its headquarters and untold numbers of jobs out of state, just as General Electric is doing in decamping from its Fairfield headquarters for Boston. The CEO of Aetna has strongly implied that staying in Hartford is far from guaranteed. But, why would that matter. The politics of his future are out of state and Hartford is so boring.

Malloy’s preference for playing gun control politics over tackling the hard work of planning a stronger economic future for the State of Connecticut is all too clear.