Former Republican candidate for governor Tom Foley told a packed room of gun rights advocates Tuesday that he opposed any further restriction of Second Amendment rights in Connecticut, according to the Hartford Courant.
The Greenwich businessman who narrowly lost to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in the 2010 gubernatorial race was the guest speaker at the Connecticut Citizens Defense League meeting at the Middletown Elks Club.
His 12-minute speech, according to the Courant, also touched upon mental health issues, the Sandy Hook shooting, and his carrying of a sidearm while director of private sector development for a transitional government following the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
CCDL President Scott Wilson said he was impressed Foley wouldn't sign gun control legislation that would affect the rights of law-abiding gun owners, however the membership had mixed views of his speech.
"Some were pleased and motivated to defeat the Malloy administration and some members are looking for unequivocal statements of pro-gun reforms. As far as I am concerned, in an ideal world, such things would be possible, and I hope one day sooner than later they will be. Political realities are crucial for people to understand in the climate where we live."
Overall, Wilson said he was pleased thankful Foley "had the fortitude to show up" and make a strong statement.
In September, Foley announced he formed an exploratory committee to evaluate another potential bid for governor's seat.
Foley opposed the gun reform law passed in Connecticut following the tragedy in Sandy Hook. The bill banned assault weapons like the one used in Newtown, strengthened the background check system, and banned high-capacity ammunition magazines. When asked for his thoughts on the legislation, according to the New Haven Register, Foley said, "Enough on gun control. It's over."
In a press release Wednesday, the Connecticut Democrats were critical of Foley's appearance.
"When asked last year if he’d have signed the bill he gave a tortured answer that no one understood. Then he said 'guns is over,' when it clearly wasn't," said Connecticut Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo.
"Now, when asked, he said if the Legislature sent him a repeal bill he’d sign it. ... Tom Foley is desperately trying to buy yet another election, and in doing so is clearly pandering to the NRA at the expense of Connecticut residents."In 2010, the CCDL endorsed Foley for governor in part because of his commitment to the Second Amendment.
Wilson explained: "We believe that he will support citizens that wish to lawfully purchase, sell, transfer, carry and use firearms of all kinds here in the state of Connecticut. Tom has also pledged to correct the red tape associated with lawful firearm ownership and use in the state of Connecticut, which really separates him from any other candidate."
What do you think of Foley's statements to the CCDL and his support of the Second Amendment? Tell us in the comments section below.