Lawmakers who support some of the most restrictive gun legislation imaginable are now dishonoring Samuel Colt by turning his original Hartford, Conn. firearm manufacturing facility into a national park to be called Coltsville.
The Associated Press, via AL.com, reported:
As a decade-long push to make a national park out of Samuel Colt’s 19th-century gun factory won approval, elected officials hailed the project as a way to boost one of Hartford’s poorest neighborhoods and honor the revolver as a marvel of manufacturing. Notably absent from the celebrating was Colt’s Manufacturing Co., as it and other gun makers say a strict gun control law has left them feeling unwelcome in the state.
The latest drive was spearheaded in the House by Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.). Larson’s voting record, including “nays” on decreasing gun purchase waiting periods and protecting gun manufacturers from liability when the product is misused, has earned him a “D” from the National Rifle Association, according to On The Issues.
After the measure passed the House early this month, Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, both representing Connecticut, issued a joint statement of support, according to Murphy’s official website.
“Today’s vote is a huge win for Coltsville, Hartford and the state of Connecticut, and we look forward to leading this measure to a victory in the Senate next week,” they said. “Coltsville is a historic gem, enshrining Colt’s powerful role in advancing the industrial revolution and manufacturing in Connecticut and nationwide. Designation as a national park will help ensure that generations to come have the opportunity to visit and learn about this important part of our state’s history.”
Both senators are strong proponents for strict gun control measures. The National Rifle Association awarded Blumenthal an “F” on Second Amendment issues, and Murphy once complained that the NRA’s lobbying efforts make gun control legislation nearly impossible, according to On The Issues.
“The NRA has more control over Congress than almost any other political interest group there,” he said.
Colt executives and gun industry groups are less than enthusiastic with the project, given Connecticut’s recent legislative history. Last year, in response to December, 2012’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the state passed one of the most restrictive gun bills in the country. It was precisely the sort of measure that Larson, Murphy and Blumenthal would laud.
It was enough to prompt Colt to relocate its manufacturing facility for its line of AR-15s to firearm-friendly northern Texas, according to CBS News.
The AP reported:
Colt and the company’s president, Dennis Veilleux, declined several requests to comment on whether it might become involved in the park’s development. Veilleux warned last year that the gun law was likely to erode Connecticut ties the company had built up over its 175 years because customers would not want to support the state.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a Newtown-based gun industry association, withdrew support for the Coltsville legislation last year, saying the campaign reflected hypocrisy by the state’s congressional delegation and governor. The group’s senior vice president, Lawrence Keane, said last week he did not expect it would be involved at all with the project.
“We think it’s more important to focus on good-paying manufacturing jobs rather than creating part-time jobs for ticket-takers at a park,” Keane told the AP.
President Barack Obama signed the bill into law prior to embarking on his Hawaiian vacation. Collinsville National Park may open as soon as 2020.