As Governor of Connecticut, Dannel Malloy seemed to excel at being disliked.
Public opinion data from Morning Consult on the popularity of all 50 state governors found that the former governor came in second to last. A full 70 percent of those polled disapproved of the job he’s done. Only 20 percent approved. The remaining 10 percent had no opinion. It was the second year in a row he’s held this dubious honor.
This comes as no real surprise to us.
Let’s start with the overall environment in Connecticut under Malloy’s watch. High personal income and property tax rates, bloated state government spending, unmet state retiree pension obligations and a general anti-business regulatory environment induced several major employers including General Electric,Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Aetna either to leave the state or to cut back operations.
When it comes to the firearms industry, however, Malloy decided to make us his outright enemy.
Infamous CNN Interview
In a prickly 2013 interview with CNN’s Andrea Crowley, he accused the firearms industry of “wanting to sell as many guns to as many people as possible, even if they’re deranged, even if they’re mentally ill, even if they have a criminal background, they don’t care…” Connecticut-based O.F. Mossberg and Sons and NSSF demanded an apology. Malloy left office last week without ever having offered one – nor did he ever even partially walk back any of his outrageous remarks.
Malloy never acknowledged that NSSF at the time was determinedly pursuing the FixNICS® initiative to convince states to upload all disqualifying records, including adjudicated mental health record, to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. To date, reforms undertaken with our leadership have resulted in a 200 percent increase in records submission, to nearly 5 million from just 1.7 million in 2013. Gov. Malloy also didn’t say a word when U.S. Sen. John Cornyn drafted the Fix NICS Act to encourage states and compel federal agencies to do the same, which President Trump signed into law, after NSSF’s efforts.
Sticking with his playbook, Gov. Malloy last year called the NRA a “terrorist organization,” equating that organization with its mission to protect American’s right to keep and bear arms for self-defense with that of one intent on inflicting fear, death and destruction.
And just three weeks ago, Malloy again tried to use mental health as a hammer against gun control opponents for not going along with his crusade.
On the eve of moving out of the governor’s residence, Gov. Malloy penned an open letter to Connecticut citizens, saying “we’re often too quick to criticize ourselves and our great state…” Maybe, but that’s one interesting take on eight years of generally being the criticizer-in-chief of anyone holding an opinion contrary to his. The Day of New London’s Red Jahnck in a column headlined, “Malloy doth praise himself too much, methinks,” deftly took apart what Malloy was trying to sell as a record of success.
We would like to think that Connecticut is in for better days and a different tone in Hartford. We’ll see. It won’t be easy. Gov. Ned Lamont renominated nine of Malloy’s commissioners. He’s also made it clear that he wants more gun control on top of some of the most restrictive laws in the country, including mandatory gun storage laws and a ban on 3d printed guns.
Let’s hope that the new governor will be open to hearing from our industry and, at the very least, unlike his predecessor that will not decide that we must be his enemy.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.