Both sides of gun issue pressuring state lawmakers - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Both sides of gun issue pressuring state lawmakers

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB/AP) -

Both sides of the gun control issue are increasing pressure on Connecticut lawmakers who are close to voting on changes to state law stemming from the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

The National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups held a lobby day at the Capitol on Monday.

Since 8 a.m., shuttle buses have been running from Cabella's parking lot to the Legislative Office Building filled with pro-gun activists.

"I'm worried (lawmakers) are going to take away our guns or have to register them," said David Hibbs, of Brooklyn. "It isn't right. It's the Second Amendment. We shouldn't have to do that. That's why we're here."

At one point, there thousands of people from gun owners to gun manufacturers flooded floors of the LOB in support of second amendment rights.

Gun owners from across Connecticut said they came to the lobby day hoping to get the attention of lawmakers.

"Now is not the time to sit," said Colchester resident Joel Koulsek. "It's a time to stand and fight. I can not believe I'm here to justify my right to bear arms."

Local gun manufacturers are here too saying stricter gun laws that would ban assault-style weapons would deal a devastating blow to their business and would hurt Connecticut's economy.

"We indirectly employ thousands across the state," said Mark Malkowski, president and owner of Stag Arms. "The gun industry in Connecticut makes up $1.5 billion in revenue."

Malkowski told Eyewitness News that he's worried Stag Arms will need to leave the state if lawmakers do decide to ban the type of assault style rifles it manufactures.

Many of the activists said they're sympathetic and admit something needs to change after what happened in Newtown. But, they said restricting the rights of legal gun owners is not the answer.

Gun rights have been in the spotlight after Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adults inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in December.

Lawmakers are considering mandatory criminal background checks, bans on assault style rifles and high capacity magazines.

Many gun supporters told Eyewitness News they don't feel like any of these things being proposed will prevent another Sandy Hook tragedy and new gun laws will only restrict their rights.

On Wednesday, the Newtown Action Alliance will hold their own lobby day in favor of gun control at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

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