Stefanowski mum on gun control, but answer is clear

October 21, 2018 GMT

However perceived or articulated, the dislike many state voters harbor for Gov. Dan Malloy could be the result of several things.

For starters, he’s a know-it-all workaholic whose collaborations with state legislators were ... ah ... limited over these eight years.

But one thing that even those vaguely aware of public policy can’t begrudge the governor is the monumentally sad, gut-wrenching job he shouldered for Connecticut on that deadly Friday morning.

It was nearly six years ago when a pathetic, disturbed shut-in assassinated his mother while she was sleeping, then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School to live out a twisted fantasy, murdering 20 first-graders and six educators with a military-style rifle before killing himself.


Hours later, in the grim, emotion-saturated atmosphere of the nearby firehouse, it was Malloy who announced the reality to the families of the slaughtered, joining in their sorrow.

Soon thereafter, within five months of the Newtown massacre, Malloy shamed — call it lobbying or leadership, if you want — the General Assembly into adopting some of the nation’s toughest gun-safety measures.

Assault-style rifles are banned for sale or importation. Same thing with magazines containing more than 10 bullets. Criminal background checks are required for all firearm sales, even ammunition. The semi-automatic, AR-15 type weapons already in the possession of state residents had to be registered.

This irked the National Rifle Association to no end. Today, violent crime is way down and prison populations are at historic lows.

Two of the three major candidates for governor, Democrat Ned Lamont and the unaffiliated Oz Griebel, are happy to talk about this success and voice their support for gun control. Republican Bob Stefanowski, not so much.

He has the top “Aq” rating from the NRA, the highest grade an untested state candidate can get. Mark Boughton, the Danbury mayor who was the winner of the Republican endorsement at its May convention took an “F.” So did Ned Lamont.

Stefanowksi doesn’t say much about his “Aq,” except to pledge support for Second Amendment rights.

But Stefanowski filled out a detailed 24-question semi-secret quiz given him last spring by the NRA’s Political Victory Fund. It’s tailored for Connecticut.

“Considering current Connecticut firearm law,” one of the preliminary questions asks, changing to boldface “do you support any additional restrictive state legislation regulating the sale, use or possession of firearms or ammunition? Do you support state legislation banning the manufacture, possession, ownership, purchase and/or transfer of any firearm?”


I suppose the answer they want is clear enough.

The NRA-PVF makes it even more obvious further into the document, in a long, slanted question on the 2013 post-Sandy Hook law, leading an applicant to agree that more money should go into “fixing the broken mental-health system” and less into regulation. The first of three responses is to support repeal of the law.

An American hero was at the University of Connecticut the other day, and he had a lot to say about the NRA. James Comey, the former FBI director who would not pledge personal loyalty to the president, then was fired in May of last year, appeared on campus for a 90-minute monologue and Q-and-A before more than 2,000 students and faculty.

He warned that the national gun debate is being used as a political tool. He recalled living in Westport, where he was legal counsel for a hedge fund at the time of the Sandy Hook School massacre. He said there remain many impediments for law enforcement, health care and educators to work together on the issue.

“We are sold fear on a regular basis that incapacitates our public conversation,” said Comey, recalling the federal background-check system run by the FBI. The largest single-monthly sale of firearms came right after Sandy Hook, he recalled. “Fear resulted. ‘They’re coming to take your guns. They’re coming to take your guns.’”

The Constitution of the United States assures lawful ownership, he stressed. “The people who sell us fear don’t want us to think of it that way,” Comey said. “Trump’s been very bad for business, in a way. ‘Trump is coming to take your guns’ doesn’t sound as good as ‘Obama is coming to take your guns.’ Nothing sells quite like fear.”

So, since Stefanowski won’t detail his positions on guns, and many other things besides the claim that he would run the state like a business, let’s say it’s safe to hypothesize that he would give the NRA what they want.

Ken Dixon, political editor and columnist, can be reached at 203-842-2547 or at Visit him at and on Facebook at kendixonct.hearst.