Gun industry reacts to proposed legislation

Representatives of the state’s gun industry voiced their outrage Wednesday that proposed gun control laws were done in secrecy and behind closed doors.

Jonathan Scalise, the owner of Ammunition and Storage Components in New Britain, said he doesn’t know if his 150 employees can return to work Thursday if the legislation is approved. The company, he said, manufactures high capacity magazines that can hold up to 40 rounds.

“I have employees asking me if they can come to work tomorrow, and I don’t know what to tell them,” he said.

Despite Gov. Dannel Malloy’s assurances Tuesday that the proposed legislation won’t impact state  manufacturers, representatives of the industry said they don’t believe his word.

“The fact that the governor said manufacturers are exempt, that doesn’t mean anything at all,” said Jake McGuigan, a lobbyist with the National Shooting Sports Federation based in Newtown. “This is a mental health issue, not a firearms issue.”

McGuigan said they just received the proposed bill about two hours ago and have yet to review the legislation.

“Is it illegal for a truck driver to leave the factory,” he asked. “He would be in possession. We just don’t know.”

Both McGuigan and Scalise argued that they were cut out of the conversations with lawmakers about two weeks ago, shortly after Vice President Joseph Biden’s visit to the state, when lawmakers went behind closed doors to hash out an agreement.

“It’s an odd coincidence that (President Barack) Obama is visiting the state Monday,” he said, adding that there was a “tremendous lack of transparency” in the process.

Dirk Perrefort