Connecticut government officials tried to coax the maker of the Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle into choosing the state as their home base, but they rescinded the offer days later in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“It was a significant tragedy that was fresh on everybody’s mind,” state Department of Economic and Community Development deputy commissioner Ronald Angelo told The Hartford Courant to explain why Connecticut decided not to give the maker of the AR-15 a $1 million loan. The state offered the loan eight days before the Sandy Hook shooting and pulled it four days later.
Angelo also pointed out that FreedomGroup, which owns Bushmaster, was changing hands. “If you take that [shooting] into account along with the very unknown structure and unknown condition of the Freedom Group because of the [announced] sale of that entity by its parent, it’s too much of an unknown,” he said.
Although Connecticut didn’t recruit another gun manufacturer, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., opposes departure of in-state manufacturers.
“In deciding to stay or locate here, companies will consider that our state has the best and most skilled workforce in the nation, a superlative quality of life and a superior education system,” Blumenthal, one of the senators leading the gun control push, said in response to a Mississippi lawmaker who suggested that Connecticut weapons manufacturers relocate.
“This preposterous pitch to companies with long, successful histories in our state shows the need for national standards and statutes to reduce gun violence . . . Responsible gun manufacturers and owners have welcomed reasonable, common sense measures to reduce gun violence and I will continue to reach out to both groups,” he said.