CCDL cancels Aqua Turf events after venue pulls out of NRA fundr - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CCDL cancels Aqua Turf events after venue pulls out of NRA fundraiser

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

Following news that the Aqua Turf would no longer host a gun advocate fundraiser, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League said it has pulled its own events from the venue.

The CCDL said on Thursday that it was "tremendously disappointed in the Aqua Turf's statement released [Wednesday] that the friends of the [National Rifle Association] would no longer be welcome after a 25 year relationship."

CCDL president Scott Wilson said that while the group understands that the venue received pressure from outside entities, it cannot continue to patronize the Aqua Turf now that it has taken a political stance against the CCDL's own.

"We have to stand together on this issue," Wilson told Channel 3. "It's very unfortunate, the Aqua Turf has always done a great job. Our dinner for Feb. 2019 has now been canceled."

Wilson said the NRA is not a steel building with glass windows in Washington DC.

"Were talking about people that are members of that organization that want their rights protected that live here in Connecticut," he said. "They want to very simply have a place to go and share their common interest, raise funds for causes they believe in."

The NRA's fundraiser was supposed to happen last month.

However, the timing of it was an issue with gun violence prevention advocates. It was set to happen the night before the "March for our Lives" event in Washington DC, which was in response to the mass school shooting in Parkland, FL.

There's been a push for corporations and businesses to distance themselves from the NRA.

Po Murray of the Newtown Action Alliance released a statement to Channel 3.

"We are happy to hear that the CCDL made a decision to cancel their event at the Aqua Turf," Murray wrote. "If we had know that Aqua Turf also hosted another group that lobbies against any and all smart gun safety laws in Connecticut, then we would have encouraged the Aqua Turf to distance themselves from the CCDL as well."

"In my view, it's an unscrupulous tactic," Wilson said. "Nothing we would employ against an organization against any of their causes."

Though the CCDL said the Aqua Turf took a political stance, a statement from the venue itself called the cancellation of the NRA event "mutual."

“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.

While some have applauded the business's decision, others like Dan Dorau of Plainville fear "you're hurting Aqua Turf and their business."

"I think the Aqua Turf has the right to rent the hall out to any party that wants to have a function there," said Peter Dagostino of Southington.

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