CT Governor plans more "aggressive" gun controls if re-elected in November

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Connecticut gun owners can’t say they weren’t warned if they choose to sit out this election. Gov. Ned Lamont is making his intentions clear: if he wins a second term in office this November he’s taking aim at the right to keep and bear arms.

Of course Lamont doesn’t put in those terms, but that’s exactly what he promised to do in an interview with Heart Connecticut media this week, vowing to enact a number of new restrictions that are targeted directly at the state’s legal gun owners.

“I think our gun-safety laws would certainly be at risk,” Lamont said of the potential for a Stefanowski win in November. “And if I were reelected, I’d go right back to the legislature and say ‘There are too many of these illegal ghost guns on the street and I think at a minimum, I want them all registered.’ And by the way, I wouldn’t mind a cop being able to ask somebody who’s open carrying, ‘Can you show me your license to do this?’”

… In addition to proposing new laws, the governor signaled that he would push harder on Democrats to get behind his efforts. Lamont said that hesitation among members of his party — particularly in southeastern Connecticut — contributed to his gun measures being stripped from the anti-crime legislation earlier this year.

Lamont’s support for legislation allowing police to stop anyone openly-carrying a handgun in order to request their permits also cuts against the beliefs of some lawmakers from the state’s largest cities, who have in the past condemned that approach over concerns about racial profiling.

… When asked about the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down New York’s pistol permit law, Lamont said the ruling signaled a shift in the court’s approach to the 2nd Amendment that could threaten Connecticut’s existing gun regulations. He added, however, that the ruling would have little bearing on his approach to enacting new regulations on guns.

“I mean, you don’t necessarily want to pass a law that’s immediately taken to the courts,” Lamont said. “But maybe I don’t care. Maybe I just want to give it a go and challenge the system.”

Forget about enacting new regulations on “guns.” What Lamont is trying to do is to enact new restrictions on Connecticut residents who want to exercise their constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms, and he’s just admitted he doesn’t care how legally questionable his policies might be. Pass ’em all and let the courts sort ’em out later appears to be the new mantra for blue state governors in the wake of the Bruen decision, and unfortunately Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski isn’t exactly stepping up and challenging Lamont’s gun-grabbing agenda.

The Republican’s campaign website is silent on the Second Amendment, and back in May his campaign released a statement saying that the state has the “strongest” gun laws in the nation and they should “stay that way.” If Stefanowski is going to unseat the incumbent he’s going to need to appeal to the state’s gun owners, and that means directly challenging Lamont’s attack on the right to keep and bear arms in self-defense. Otherwise, many gun owners and Second Amendment supporters in Connecticut may simply decide there’s not enough difference between the two candidates to make a difference and choose to stay home on Election Day.

In 2018 Lamont beat Stefanowski 49.4% to 46.2%, a difference of just over 44,000 votes. It would be incredibly dumb of Stefanowski to ignore the gun vote this time around, but at the moment that appears to be his campaign strategy, and it may very well result in a blue state staying blue in what’s shaping up to be a red wave election year.

Aug 18, 2022 5:30 PM ET