HARTFORD, Conn. – A national gun industry association based in Connecticut is withdrawing its support for federal legislation that would establish the Coltsville National Historical Park in Hartford, citing recent passage of the state's new gun control law.
In letters to the state's congressional delegation and governor, Lawrence G. Keane, the senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said the industry is "offended by the hypocrisy of our elected officials in Congress and the state government" to advocate for legislation paying homage to the firearms industry and the iconic Colt firearms factory while pursuing gun control legislation.
"As major contributors to the state's economy, we find it unacceptable for lawmakers to propose banning our products and hindering our ability of Connecticut companies to grow their businesses, create more good-paying manufacturing jobs, and contribute hundreds of millions in taxes," Keane wrote in the letters released Tuesday.
He called the state's legislation "job-killing" because it bans many of the most popular and commonly owned firearms that the foundation's members manufacture.
Current and past delegation members have pushed for years for the National Historical Park designation at Coltsville, an area named after Samuel Colt, who designed a revolver that revolutionized personal firearms. The area includes manufacturing facilities and employee housing that his Colt Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Co. began building in 1855.
Coltsville was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2008, a step toward the national park designation.
U.S. Rep. John Larson, a Democrat who represents Hartford and a chief proponent of the national historical park designation, said the site is of national historic significance and "anyone who understands the significance and importance of Coltsville gets it." He said the location was and will remain the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, the site of precision manufacturing, assembly line production and interchangeable parts.
"Historic designation has nothing to do with universal background checks, which 91 percent of the American people support," Larson said.
The foundation is based in Newtown, the site of the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It filed a federal lawsuit on Monday claiming the state's emergency gun control bill was illegally passed in April without proper public input, time for adequate review by lawmakers and without a statement of facts explaining the need to bypass the usual