Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wants Connecticut gun companies to know they are welcome here, even though many are thinking of leaving.
On Thursday, the governor said he's concerned for the well-being of all Connecticut businesses. And said he'll work with any gun company to help them stay in the state and understand the new laws.
The statements by Malloy come after a manufacturer of assault rifles announced the company is planning to move out of the state after new gun control legislation was passed last week.
In a statement released Tuesday night, PTR Industries said it is leaving Connecticut after the passage of Bill 1160 on April 4.
"We knew right after reading the text that if it passed, we wouldn't have a choice," PTR Industries owner Josh Fiorini previoulsy told Eyewitness News.
On that day, Connecticut lawmakers passed some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. State lawmakers voted to expand the ban on assault weapons and also limit the sale of magazines to only 10 rounds.
Gun owners in the state will now have to register their weapons and ammunition, and for the first time, the law requires background checks on all sales.
According to its website, PTR Industries produces several versions of military-style assault rifles at its Bristol location.
"As a business, we have to make a payroll for someone $50,000 a week," Fiorini said. "I can't wait. I can't do that with no sales."
In its statement, officials for the company said they attended hearings on the bill and felt that Connecticut lawmakers had not read the more than 100-page bill before voting on it.
The bill was passed months after 20 children and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14.
Fiorini said PTR Industries makes mostly modern sporting rifles. Under the new law, all of them would be banned, while limiting magazine rounds to 10 would also hurt his business.
"At any given time, we own 100,000 or more 20-round magazines," Fiorini said. "How are we supposed to individually register all of those magazines?"
On Thursday, the governor told the media he doesn't believe out-of-state gun buyers will refuse to buy rifles if they know those guns were made in Connecticut, as some gun supporters claim.
Bristol Republican mayoral candidate Ken Cockayne wrote a letter to Malloy urging him to try and keep gun manufactures in Connecticut.
"At a time when municipalities as well as the state could use all the revenue it can get, we should be doing everything in our power to not let these jobs walk away from our state," Cockayne said in the letter. "Our unemployment rate in Bristol is hovering at 9.3% and every business is sacred to our local economy."
Cockayne said if he is elected mayor, he would focus on brining jobs to the city.
"I am hopeful that the governor and DECD have a plan to keep gun manufactures in Connecticut and I am hopeful that they will be sharing that plan with local officials," he said. "Our economy in Bristol and Connecticut is sputtering and I hope no one in the governor's office or administration is jumping for joy that these businesses and jobs are leaving the state."
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League, which is the state's largest grass roots gun rights group, released a statement Thursday.
"CCDL has formed a working alliance with the Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen and the National Rifle Association to challenge the newly minted Public Act 13-3," said Connecticut Citizens Defense League President Scott Wilson. "The expanded list of common firearms that are included in the language of the act affect many gun owners that have never even broken a law."
Officials at the Connecticut Citizens Defense League said they are looking into litigation along with National Rifle Association of America and Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen.
"CCDL feels that a team effort is the best way to challenge this law," Wilson said.
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