Will gun control sink Connecticut’s Democratic governor?

posted at 12:01 pm on August 28, 2014 by Noah Rothman

Statewide elections, gubernatorial elections especially, turn on a number of issues; the local economy, transportation matters, sales and property taxes, scandals and controversies, and sometimes social issues. More often than not, a combination of these contentious matters leads to an incumbent party losing or retaining a governor’s mansion. In Connecticut, where incumbent Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy seeks reelection, one issue has come to dominate the race: gun control. And it might be that issue which sinks Malloy.

Even amid the GOP wave of 2010, Malloy beat his Republican opponent Tom Foley by just 6,400 votes. Foley opted to give a gubernatorial run another shot in 2014, setting up a virtual repeat but without the national conditions which led votes to send a wave of Republicans into political office. Before this race began in earnest, many believed Malloy would repeat that victory and may even improve on his margin of victory.

National commentators believed the new restrictions on gun ownership Malloy imposed in the wake of his state’s nightmarish experience at a Newtown elementary school to be a pure good. Few believed it would be a major issue in the election, let alone one which would lead New England voters to recall their incumbent Democratic governor. The political class may prove to be shocked in November.

At the first gubernatorial debate of the season in the Nutmeg State, The Wall Street Journal reported, guns took center stage:

Gun control has emerged as a major campaign issue, with Mr. Foley criticizing firearms restrictions the governor signed into law in 2013 in response to the deadly school shooting in Newtown. The package included universal background checks, a ban on sales of ammunition magazines with 10 or more rounds and a ban on the sale of certain types of firearms the state defines as “assault weapons.”

The changes, Mr. Malloy said, have contributed to a declining statewide homicide rate: “I believe what we have done has made Connecticut safer.”

Mr. Foley countered that violent-crime rates were falling across the U.S., adding that the new laws inconvenience gun owners and wouldn’t prevent another mass shooting. “This was so overreaching that it went way, way beyond in what I think would have been an appropriate response to Newtown,” said Mr. Foley, an ex-ambassador to Ireland and former private-equity manager. “It’s not good leadership. It’s grandstanding.”

The situation looks grim for Malloy. The race is not widely polled, but the two public polls taken in Connecticut in late July and August both show Foley leading the incumbent by 7 points.

Foley has not embraced a laissez-faire approach to the Second Amendment – his hedging on the issue of gun ownership rights has become a major issue for a tea party gubernatorial candidate running to the right of both Foley and Malloy on guns. It is, however, fascinating that a state where a grotesque mass shooting became the impetus for a nationwide push for new gun laws may become the state that also starts to reverse them.

This post has been updated since its original publication.


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And it might be that issue which sinks Malloy.

If he sinks, that means he’s a witch.

faraway on August 28, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Lets hope.

Walter L. Newton on August 28, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Funny how this race is being ignored on the NBC’s. They just can’t get enough of potentially tight GOP governors races, not a peep here though.

Tater Salad on August 28, 2014 at 12:07 PM

“National commentators believed the new restrictions on gun ownership Foley imposed…”

I think I see something not quite right in that line….

Tom Servo on August 28, 2014 at 12:08 PM

It would be satisfying to see Hickenpooper go down.

ConstantineXI on August 28, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Remember, there are only about 22 deaths from mass shootings each year:
 
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data
 
Swimming pools? Now that’s a problem.

rogerb on August 28, 2014 at 12:13 PM

National commentators believed the new restrictions on gun ownership Foley Malloy imposed in the wake of his state’s nightmarish experience at a Newtown elementary school a pure good.

FIFY

novaculus on August 28, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Show of hands….

Who wants to be an unarmed sitting duck when ISIS goons who have waltzed across our porous border start beheading people at the local shopping mall?

CurtZHP on August 28, 2014 at 12:14 PM

If he sinks, that means he’s a witch.

faraway on August 28, 2014 at 12:04 PM

You have that backwards.

NotCoach on August 28, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Too bad in a left leaning state Visconti can not win. Would seem he is the best of the three on issues.

Bmore on August 28, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Show of hands….

Who wants to be an unarmed sitting duck when ISIS goons who have waltzed across our porous border start beheading people at the local shopping mall?

CurtZHP on August 28, 2014 at 12:14 PM

I don’t want to be an unarmed sitting duck for ISIS, The Obama/DC Regime, or my local miltarized police to prey on with impunity.

ConstantineXI on August 28, 2014 at 12:20 PM

If he sinks, that means he’s a witch.

faraway on August 28, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Malloy did turn me into a newt…

…but I got better.

Kingfisher on August 28, 2014 at 12:20 PM

It is, however, fascinating that a state where a grotesque mass shooting became the impetus for a nationwide push for new gun laws may become the state that also starts to reverse them.

I think that honor actually goes to Colorado.

NotCoach on August 28, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Noah doesn’t mention it directly, but the real breaking point for many was the registration requirement for all previously purchased rifles that were banned under the new law.

Connecticut gun owners revolt

Widely flouted registration law puts legislators in a bind

There are a lot of potential felons in Connecticut who want Malloy gone and that stinking law repealed before they get in real trouble for owning an unregistered rifle.

novaculus on August 28, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Malloy deserves to sink like a stone. Hope it happens.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on August 28, 2014 at 12:29 PM

From 1981— 2012, 20,354 cases of HIV have been reported to DPH.
 
9880 (48%) have died and 10,474 are currently living with HIV.
 
http://www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/aids_and_chronic/surveillance/quickstats_hiv_fact_sheet.pdf

 
Wow. Out of 3.5 million in the state, 20,354 people “have HIV” (~1/2 of 1% of the total population) are responsible for killing 9880 other people.
 
Let’s see if we can find their “have guns” homicide numbers for the same period.

rogerb on August 28, 2014 at 12:30 PM

You have that backwards.

NotCoach on August 28, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Heretic!

faraway on August 28, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Having lived in CT for 13 years when the new laws took effect I can tell you that they would have never been proposed let alone signed into law if the shootings had happened anywhere else in the State. Those shootings happened in the richest part of the State that is the only reason all of those new laws got proposed and passed, money.

Fortunately we got to move very soon after that mess.

Johnnyreb on August 28, 2014 at 12:34 PM

According to nobrain, gun control in the wake of Sandy Hook was supposed to really hurt the reelection chances of the ‘cowards’ that opposed it…

how could this cost them the senate if 90% of Americans, 80% of gunowners, and 70% of NRA households favor it?

the cowards who voted no, on the other hand, may be in for a surprise when reelection comes

nonpartisan on April 18, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Resist We Much on August 28, 2014 at 12:34 PM

So Malloy’s argument is that homicides went down because of new gun restrictions? So do murderer’s only use newly bought and/or “assault” guns? otherwise, there’s still a lot of guns in that state that are just as capable of killing someone.

Seems to me that homicides went down because fewer people were killing other people.

jetch on August 28, 2014 at 12:37 PM

I believe you need to correct this Noah. It’s not Foley. It is Malloy.

National commentators believed the new restrictions on gun ownership Foley imposed in the wake of his state’s nightmarish experience at a Newtown elementary school to be a pure good.

Marcus Traianus on August 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM

but I thought mass shootings only occurred in gun-free zones?!

nonpartisan on April 2, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Wow. Out of 3.5 million in the state, 20,354 people “have HIV” (~1/2 of 1% of the total population) are responsible for killing 9880 other people.

Let’s see if we can find their “have guns” homicide numbers for the same period.

rogerb on August 28, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Since the 1980′s, the lamestream media has been predicting a looming heterosexual epidemic of AIDS. Which has NEVER materialized.

It remains almost completely a gay male disease. The only other area it spread into is needle sharing drug users.

ConstantineXI on August 28, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Here’s hoping he loses, particularly because Rs could lose Kansas. Picking up Connecticut would help make up for that.

cat_owner on August 28, 2014 at 12:40 PM

good lord noah, can you even get the name of the guy that signed the law correct?
heres a clue, the guy that didn’t win the election did not sign the laws.

Malloy beat his Republican opponent Tom Foley by just 6,400 votes.

National commentators believed the new restrictions on gun ownership Foley imposed in the wake of his state’s nightmarish experience at a Newtown elementary school to be a pure good.

dmacleo on August 28, 2014 at 12:41 PM

The Newtown school shooting was committed by a young man who stole his mother’s gun (and shot her with it before going to the school). The mother owned the gun legally and had passed all background checks. Stricter gun-control laws would not have prevented the Newtown shooting, unless they required background checks on all family members of the gun purchaser.

What might have prevented many of the deaths in Newtown would have been an armed police officer patrolling schools.

It’s not surprising that gun-control can backfire on a Democrat Governor even in a blue state like Connecticut. While most of coastal and central Connecticut is highly urbanized, there are large forested areas in northwestern and northeastern Connecticut where city-dwellers like to go deer hunting, and hunters don’t want their guns taken away.

Malloy might also be hurt by the massive state tax increases enacted shortly after he took office, which have been driving businesses and jobs out of the state. Prior to Malloy’s election in 2010, Connecticut had a Democrat-controlled state legislature but Republican Governors for 16 years (Rowland and Rell) who tended to veto state budgets until their spending was reasonably controlled.

Steve Z on August 28, 2014 at 12:41 PM

At the first gubernatorial debate of the season in the Nutmeg State

As someone born and raised in Southwestern Conn, I prefer the “Constitution State”…it just sounds better :P

One thing Malloy has going for him, was that he was also born and raised in Fairfield County, and served as mayor of Stamford (right next door to my hometown).

It’s generally accepted that there are two Connecticuts…Fairfield County, and the rest of the state. FC is where all the money is. The larger cities like Stamford and Norwalk lean Democrat, while the smaller towns like Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan (my hometown), lean Republican. Other small towns like Westport tend to be more “artsy” liberal.

Malloy certainly knows all this…and FC seems to avoid the corruption scandals that have plagued other counties in the state in the past. He’s going to have to strike some balancing act between pleasing voters of FC…where the money is, and the rest of the state. And that’s no easy task.

Even I couldn’t vote for Lamont when he ran…he was a horses arse. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens there…Malloy is a seasoned politician and knows the ropes well. And he surrounds himself with a good staff…I’ve argued discussed with some of them in the past.

JetBoy on August 28, 2014 at 12:41 PM

If he sinks, that means he’s a witch.

faraway on August 28, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Wait a minute – I thought witches weigh the same as ducks – and float…..

dentarthurdent on August 28, 2014 at 12:41 PM

I live here. Sure there are a lot of people not happy about the gun control issue. But that is not what’s driving any negativity towards the current Governor. Its the economic climate we have and the usual stuff (that wont be fixed ever) like high property taxes, cost of living, gas taxes, car taxes, etc.

bucsox79 on August 28, 2014 at 12:42 PM

It really is amazing to realize how safe gun owners are:
 

In Connecticut, between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2012 (a 12-year period), 94 children died from gunshot wounds. During that period 924 children were injured by guns.
 
http://www.ct.gov/oca/lib/oca/12_Years_of_Child_Gun_Deaths_and_Injuries_in_Connecticut_Jan__2013_with_charts_in_publisher.pdf

 
And that’s from a pro gun-control group counting up to 17 years and admitting this:
 

injuries to children and child deaths from guns are overwhelmingly among male
adolescents 15 years old and older, and compared to their proportion of the population, they are
disproportionately Black and Hispanic children.

 
The “have guns” group is that safe INCLUDING gang violence:
 

Connecticut cities Bridgeport, New Haven, and Hartford are all among the 25 most dangerous cities in America, according to our analysis of violent crime per capita.

What’s wrong with Connecticut?

First of all, the state faces a growing gang problem.

 
Just think about how safe gun owners are when gang bangers and wannabes are left out of the mix.
 
It is truly impressive.

rogerb on August 28, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Marcus Traianus on August 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Nice catch!

dentarthurdent on August 28, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Hopefully, but it’s going to take a lot more than just sending Malloy down the road to help those Nutmegs.

De Oppresso Liber on August 28, 2014 at 12:44 PM

It’s generally accepted that there are two Connecticuts…Fairfield County, and the rest of the state.
JetBoy on August 28, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Very similar to Colorado – Peoples’ Republik of Denver-Boulder and the rest of the state which is mostly red.
Hickenlooper is a Denver restaurant/bar owner who originally ran on a very moderate almost libertarian platform – which of course was a total lie – so he went hard left as soon as he was elected.
It’s looking like we have a good shot at getting rid of him in November as well – primarily for the same reason – gun control.

dentarthurdent on August 28, 2014 at 12:55 PM

As a nutmegger and a gun owner, I’d like to see Malloy lose and have the prime reason be his gun law but that’s not likely to be the case. There aren’t enough gun owners in CT who weren’t already voting against him to make a difference. As for Visconti, remember, a third party candidate from the right got enough votes last time to give Malloy the margin of victory. Why are we trying to do it to ourselves again? I think Foley is wooden and easy to demonize but Malloy needs to go. Let’s just keep an eye on those Bridgeport copy machines this time on election night.

jnelchef on August 28, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Foley is a wimp. He threw in the towel when precinct captains in Bridgeport mysteriously found bags of uncounted Malloy votes in the final minutes of the last CT gubernatorial election.

Foley would be modest improvement over Malloy, who is “olde-tyme democratic corruption” personified. This state is a lost cause. Write it off. Hartford is completely in bed with Malloy and his gang and the voters are happy with that.

To give an example of how bad things are, the 2010 gubernatorial debate in Stamford was hosted by the NAACP. Before the debate began, all attenders were required to stand and sing the “Negro National Anthem.” Google it.

Then the candidates, Malloy, who was constantly doing silent shout-outs to his home town crowd, Foley, who looked like a tired Wall Street banker, and Tom Marsh, who was the most sensible man on the stage, began answering questions in what can only be described as a White Mistral Show with Malloy (D), Foley (R), and Marsh (Ind) doing the tap dancing.

In the middle of it all, Malloy declared that “electricity rates are too high,” with a scowl on his face as if Pastor Tax Everything in Sight was going to do something about it for his poor, black parishioners, er bought and paid-for voters.

The crowning glory of the evening, however, came when one of the black questioners mused over the problem of a disproportionate share of state penitentiary cells being occupied by black citizens. What might the gubernatorial candidates do about such rampant racism in the CT judicial system?

Malloy said he would have a commission look into the matter right away if elected. Foley fumbled through a statement about hiring more minority judges to correct this obvious injustice. I can’t remember what Tom Marsh offered, but it was equally obsequious, though possibly more honest and logical than Malloy’s and Foley’s responses.

Connecticut is not only known as the Nutmeg State, a tribute to dishonest Yankee traders, it also likes to bill itself as the Constitution State, the irony of which is lost on nearly everyone who lives here.

Stepan on August 28, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Foley just has to beat the margin of fraud.

Iblis on August 28, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Even amid the GOP wave of 2010, Malloy beat his Republican opponent Tom Foley by just 6,400 votes.

Huh? Wouldn’t it be more like

Perhaps because of the GOP wave of 2010, Malloy beat his Republican opponent Tom Foley by just 6,400 votes. I mean, wouldn’t the “GOP wave” diminish the number of votes Malloy got? Or you could write, despite the GOP wave of 2010, Malloy still beat his Republican opponent Tom Foley by just 6,400 votes. What am I missing?

LashRambo on August 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM

PULLEESE – LABEL Democrats with a D – the Wrong Info Voter (WIV – someone came up with this) does NOT know that the people wrecking this nation are democrats. They just know their names.

It is our job to label every democrat with a D in every post and comment we write.

I’m off my soapbox!

MN J on August 28, 2014 at 1:21 PM

If he sinks, that means he’s a witch.

faraway on August 28, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Thought it was the other way a witch floats, a innocent sank.

wifarmboy on August 28, 2014 at 1:23 PM

It’s hard to take somebody seriously with a play name like Dannel.

formwiz on August 28, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Stepan on August 28, 2014 at 1:05 PM

I lived in CT from 4/2006 – 7/2012. And it was enough. While I lived in the Plainville area, it leaned Republican. I had hopes, and I tried doing my part to ensure Malloy wasn’t elected. But the Bridgeport miracle bags squashed that.

As I recall, shortly after Malloy took office didn’t the legislature pass a tax hike which took effect retroactively and Malloy signed it?

While it’s sometimes hot, the air in Texas is so much cleaner.

Mitoch55 on August 28, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Thank you for correcting the names.

dmacleo on August 28, 2014 at 1:42 PM

I believe you need to correct this Noah. It’s not Foley. It is Malloy.

National commentators believed the new restrictions on gun ownership Foley imposed in the wake of his state’s nightmarish experience at a Newtown elementary school to be a pure good.

Marcus Traianus on August 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM

No, this is probably how BSNBC reported it and it seems that Noah is always linking to them.

Deets on August 28, 2014 at 1:49 PM

It is, however, fascinating that a state where a grotesque mass shooting became the impetus for a nationwide push for new gun laws may become the state that also starts to reverse them.

I think you are forgetting Colorado, Noah.

earlgrey on August 28, 2014 at 2:17 PM

I live here. Sure there are a lot of people not happy about the gun control issue. But that is not what’s driving any negativity towards the current Governor. Its the economic climate we have and the usual stuff (that wont be fixed ever) like high property taxes, cost of living, gas taxes, car taxes, etc.

bucsox79 on August 28, 2014 at 12:42 PM

I live in CT as well. And I agree with the above – while gun control issues may be a small factor in the (hopeful) demise of Malloy, if he does lose it will be because of the taxes. He’s done precisely nothing to lower any taxes here and in fact, as already mentioned, oversaw the largest tax increase in state history. CT has the third highest tax on gasoline in the country, at 67.7 cents per gallon. We are in the “top 10″ for highest property taxes in the nation. We have the 5th highest cost of living in the country. It’s never been cheap to live in CT but in the past 3 years – it’s gotten to be nearly unaffordable.

KrisinNE on August 28, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Three reasons CT is blue – New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport; most on the outside of those areas vote conservative.

Hate to say it, but it will come down to Bridgeport as it did in the last election. The polls were kept open late and they found some unaccounted votes… in a bag,.. in a trunk,… in the river,.. all for Malloy…… you know the story.
Dems always engage come up in with enough votes fraud.

Foley did not force the issue like he should of, but Dem POS/SOS Bysiewicz wouldn’t budge on the recount numbers, because Communism.

Another 4 years of Malloy will finally sink the Anti-Constitution state. I know I’ll be outta here if that happens.

StubbornGreenBurros on August 28, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Wow, lots of CT residents (or past residents) here! That surprises me. I’m one, too, and am appreciating so many informed comments by my fellow residents.

I believe CT is the Constitution state because our state came up with the bicameral compromise for the national legislature when the Constitution was being written. The Great Compromise.

Here’s the kids’ version of the story:
http://www.congressforkids.net/Constitution_greatcompromise.htm

hrh40 on August 28, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Mitoch55,

I wish I were you. Ironically, we moved FROM Texas TO New York City and then Connecticut five years ago.

God, I hate it up here!

We moved from one of the most tax friendly states to the worst state in the country to retire.

I call it the “grand daughter tax.”

We seriously screwed up raising our kids.

Stepan on August 28, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Mitoch55,

I think you are right. I believe Malloy did enact a retroactive tax increase upon assuming office.

Stepan on August 28, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Wish to hell this could become an issue here in the People’s Democratic Republic of Marylandistan. The new laws are every bit as draconian, but the sheeple here couldn’t care two bits about it.

nukemhill on August 28, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Connecticut is a beautiful, rules state infested by liberal scum in tight urban knots.
Those people believe gun should be band and they tend to vote.

Sounds good, isn’t true, Connecticut is lost forever.

Tard on August 28, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Show of hands….

Who wants to be an unarmed sitting duck when ISIS goons who have waltzed across our porous border start beheading people at the local shopping mall?

CurtZHP on August 28, 2014 at 12:14 PM

I avoid malls, cities, and most throngs of people.

disa on August 28, 2014 at 5:51 PM

I believe CT is the Constitution state because our state came up with the bicameral compromise for the national legislature when the Constitution was being written. The Great Compromise.

hrh40 on August 28, 2014 at 3:01 PM

I believe Conn. is the “Constitution State” because it was the first to have a written constitution, and the US constitution was based off of it. Legend says it was hidden in a fold of an oak tree (today known as the “Charter Oak”) as a safe place to keep it when the British troops had arrived to shut down the separatist rebels and their new republic.

JetBoy on August 28, 2014 at 6:36 PM