UPDATE 3:15 P.M.
Erica Lafferty , the daughter of slain Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, said Wednesday that she felt betrayed by Mayor Mark Boughton for putting politics over the safety of Connecticut residents when he announced that he was leaving the Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization.
Hochsprung had worked in Danbury as an administrator before taking the job with Sandy Hook. Boughton was a teacher in the Danbury district before entering politics.
“My mom and my family have strong ties to Danbury – it was where my mother held her first school administration job and I know it is a place that was dear to her heart,” Lafferty said Wednesday. ” That’s why I feel betrayed to learn that Mayor Boughton is putting his personal political ambitions ahead of the safety of Connecticut families. In fact, the tagline for his campaign is ‘People over Politics’ – but the only people that this decision serves are gun lobbyists.”
Lafferty, who was hired by MAIG last year as an outreach coordinator after her national advocacy efforts , said that the country needs leaders who can stand up to the gun lobby and support common sense reforms that respect rights while protecting people from violence.
“That’s what Mayors Against Illegal Guns supports and fights for,” she said. ” Our state has been devastated by gun violence and we will remind voters of this betrayal of our trust when it comes time to cast votes.”
Mayor Mark Boughton pulled his membership in the Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization citing changes to the organization rather than trying to curry favor with gun rights groups as part of his gubernatorial run.
Boughton issued a statement Wednesday announcing that he was withdrawing his membership from the group, which was formed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“I joined New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) because I believe enforcement of existing gun laws is preferable to creating new gun laws,” Boughton said in the statement “It is clear in recent months however that Bloomberg’s mission has changed from law enforcement to simply increasing gun regulations. As a result, today I have ended my affiliation with Bloomberg’s group.”
Democrats immediately took the opportunity to condemn Boughton for trying to pander to the NRA and gun rights supporters in his bid for governor.
“Was he spooked by seeing Tom Foley and Martha Dean at last week’s rally?” Who knows? Whatever his reasoning – and spare me the rhetoric in his press release; it’s absurd – he’s now shown that when it comes to common sense gun control, Mark Boughton stands against the people of Connecticut.”
Boughton was adamant Wednesday that his withdrawal form the organization had nothing to do with governor’s race but that MAIG has become a “activist organization.”
“I got involved in the organization because I wanted to see more enforcement for illegal gun trafficking,” Boughton said. “And they’ve moved away from that.”
He added that the group doesn’t allow any input from members as the direction of the organization.
A letter the group issued the day of the Sandy Hook shooting, however, noted that the organization at the time supported universal background checks on gun purchases and called for getting high capacity magazines off the streets.
“Nobody wants someone having weapons with a serious mental illness or who has a criminal history of using weapons, and I believe there are some oopholes that need to be closed, but at the end of the day this is about an organization that has changed into something I haven’t signed up for,” Boughton said.
Boughton has been called out by gun rights groups for his membership in the MAIG in recent months including the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, whose ranks blossomed after the Sandy Hook tragedy during calls for stricter gun control laws in the state.
“Mayor Boughton is a coalition member of an active anti-2nd Amendment organization (MAIG) that claims to support sensible gun reforms,” CCDL President Scott Wilson said in a statement in January. “In reality the group, ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns‘ continually works to infringe on the rights of law abiding gun owners. The Mayor’s statements about the recently passed gun laws, are also very troubling to gun owners in Connecticut.”