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Connecticut Goes to War With the NRA

The NRA has "in essence become a terrorist organization," said Gov. Dannel Malloy, who is considering cutting it out of the state's gun permitting process. It's not the only state, however, that directs funds toward the group.

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(AP/Lynne Sladky)
In Connecticut, the state that heavily cracked down on guns in the wake of a 2012 mass shooting at an elementary school, there's a new push to cut the National Rifle Association out of the gun-permitting equation.

On Monday, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin sent a letter to Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy and top state lawmakers, calling for the state to develop its own curriculum for training instructors and gun-holders. The only other jurisdictions that run their own training programs are California and Washington, D.C. -- for instructors -- and Rhode Island -- for gun-holders. 

Bronin, a Democrat running to replace Malloy, said language in the state’s gun permitting statute acts as “inadvertent, indirect support for the NRA” and works to legitimize the group.

Connecticut is one of seven states that requires gun-holders to take a gun safety training, and like Maryland and Massachusetts, requires that training to be with instructors certified by the NRA or U.S. Concealed Carry Association. Hawaii goes further and requires gun applicants to take an NRA-certified safety class. 

“It is both unnecessary and unacceptable for the NRA to have such status in Connecticut law. As a result, residents are effectively required to subsidize the NRA and its agenda,” Bronin wrote.

Malloy commended the mayor for his letter and said the state legislature -- which is controlled by Democrats -- would take his proposal into consideration. He went on to say that the NRA acts like a "terrorist organization."

"The NRA today is a far cry from the NRA that in 1999 said that teachers shouldn't carry weapons in schools,” said Malloy. “Or in the 90’s said we should have universal background checks. They have in essence become a terrorist organization."

In its defense, the NRA reportedly said, “Public safety isn’t improved by eliminating the NRA training and standards for Connecticut’s permit holders or by calling people who disagree with you terrorists."

Bronin's letter comes as the nation is swept by a student-led push to make schools safer, guns harder to get and the NRA less influential in politics. In the last month, for instance, city leaders in Dallas urged the NRA to find a new location for its convention in May. And the state of Georgia locked itself in a battle with Delta Airlines. After the company ended discounts for NRA members, the state revoked a $40 milllion tax break for Delta.

The debate sparked after a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., left 17 people dead last month. It's a kind of tragedy that Connecticut knows all too well.

In 2012, Adam Lanza killed 28 people, including 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Soon thereafter, the state expanded its assault weapons ban, banned high-capacity magazines and created immediate universal background checks.

*CORRECTION: A previous version of this incorrectly stated that Rhode Island was the only state with a state-run training program. 

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