Southington's Aqua Turf will no longer host NRA, CCDL fundraiser - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Southington's Aqua Turf will no longer host NRA, CCDL fundraiser

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Southington's Aqua Turf (WFSB) Southington's Aqua Turf (WFSB)
SOUTHINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

Following the controversy surrounding the event, the Aqua Turf will no longer host the annual NRA fundraiser.

The NRA’s fundraiser was held last month at the banquet facility in Southington.

The family-owned business has been hosting events for over 50 years, but the timing of last month’s fundraiser was an issue with local gun violence prevention advocates.

The NRA fundraiser was held the night before the March for our Lives event in Washington D.C.

Local gun violence prevention advocates called for schools to cancel proms that were scheduled to be held at the Aqua Turf.

On Wednesday, the Aqua Turf released a statement that said the owners had sat down with NRA representatives to discuss the matter.

“During this meeting, both sides mutually agreed to move the function elsewhere. It was an excruciatingly difficult decision to make as we had formed a 25-year client/ venue relationship. The Aqua Turf Club appreciates the understanding and support of the NRA,” the statement said.

At the time of the fundraiser, a representative for the Friends of the NRA told Channel 3 the timing of the event was nothing more than a coincidence, saying: “This particular event was scheduled over a year ago and has absolutely nothing to do with anything regarding any other event going on anywhere. This event has occurred every year for over 25 years at the same time of year.”

On Thursday, the Connecticut Citizen's Defense League sent a letter to the Aqua Turf that stated they are terminating their agreement with the Aqua Turf for future events. 

The statement from Scott Wilson, CCDL President, said, "The Connecticut Citizen's Defense League has been pleased to host our Anniversary Dinner at your location for the past several years. The Aqua Turf has been a premier venue for organizations such as ours including sportsmen's functions and other similar fundraisers. However, we are tremendously disappointed in the Aqua Turf's statement released yesterday that the Friends of the NRA would no longer be welcome after a 25 year relationship. While we understand that the Aqua Turf received pressure from outside entities, we cannot continue to patronize the Aqua Turf now that your company has publicly taken a political stance in stark contrast to our own. We stand in solidarity with the Friends of the NRA and, therefore, request to terminate our agreement with the Aqua Turf for the February 9th, 2019 event. Additionally, we will not be submitting the already drafted February 15th, 2020 agreement."

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