House Republican Leader Lawrence Cafero was among the political leaders listed as participants in Thursday’s big pro-gun control rally at the state Capitol.
But a gun owners blog is reporting that Cafero has withdrawn from the March for Change gathering. “Seems the event was presented to him in a way that made him think that it was going to be something else,” states the Connecticut Pistol Permit Issues blog. “ Thank you Larry Cafero!”
Gun rights groups have been critical of both Cafero and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney for agreeing to attend the rally. McKinney is also a Republican; his district includes Newtown, where 20 children and six educators were shot and killed in December.
“What kind of message does it send when a large majority of their constituency supports firearms rights, but these two attend an anti-gun rally?,” asks the pistol permit issues blog (and cross-posted on the Connecticut Citizens Defense League blog.)
“We need to let them know that we will not stand for this behavior. We don’t want them being used as pawns for an organization that has an agenda that is against the tool used, not the actual violence itself. Maybe they don’t understand that the organization putting on this event is billing it as “support” for firearms laws change.
“I urge all firearms owners and those that support our federal constitution’s second amendment, and our state constitution, to contact both of these elected representatives and ask them why? Tell them they will be held accountable next time around. Tell them how their involvement makes you feel personally.”
UPDATE: Spokesman Pat O’Neil said Thursday morning that Cafero needs to remain above a highly partisan event like this since he is a co-chair of a legislative task force considering a legislative response to the Newtown attack. “It would be taken as an explicit endorsement,” he said.
Senate Republican Leader John McKinney is still scheduled to attend the morning rally.
March for Change is a group of people pressing for new gun laws, including stricter background checks for the sale and transfer of guns, a ban on ammunition magazines holding more than 10 bullets, and expanding an existing ban on military-style semiautomatic rifles. A legislative panel is charged with crafting bills for the General Assembly to take up in the current session.
The rally has draw a number of high-profile speakers, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Attorney General George Jepsen. Veronique Pozner and Jillian Soto, who each lost a family member at Sandy Hook, are expected to address the crowd as is Henrietta Beckman, whose son was killed in Hartford a decade ago, and Robert Thomson, whose son was shot and killed in Bridgeport last year. Actors Christine Baranski and Missi Pyle will be masters of ceremonies for the event.