After the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the state enacted sweeping gun control legislation (SB 1160) expanding its assault weapon ban. Gun rights advocates spent the next year holding protests and challenging the law in the courts. "You have a community that has been awakened to their need to participate," said Connecticut state Sen. Joseph Markley (R), who voted against SB 1160 and has been hailed as a champion of the "pro-2A," or pro-Second Amendment, movement. That movement is now taking its fight to the voting booth, campaigning to elect pro-2A candidates to the General Assembly and governor's office in November, in the hope of eventually repealing SB 1160. The movement's immediate aim is the state's Aug. 12 Republican gubernatorial primary, when it will try to help Greenwich businessman Tom Foley defeat Senate Minority Leader John McKinney. Paul Herrnson, director of the University of Connecticut's Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, said the "gun rights issue is one that will definitely play a big role in the Republican primary.... "It is an issue that brings the activists out," he said. Herrnson said other issues, including taxes and the economy, will likely dominate in the general election. And if Foley wins the GOP nomination, he'll face a rematch against Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D), who beat him by about 6,400 votes four years ago. But with recent polling showing the two candidates in a virtual dead heat, the pro-2A movement could tip the balance in Foley's favor. In Maryland, the opposition to gun control is coming from international gun manufacturer Beretta. The company, which has been headquartered in the same Italian town for over 500 years, has been operating in Accokeek, Maryland since 1977. But it announced last month it will be moving all of its Maryland manufacturing activities — and the 160 jobs they provide — to Tennessee because of the gun control measure passed by Maryland's General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) last year. "We tend to be a company that has deep roots," said Beretta U.S.A. board member Jeff Reh. "We didn't want to leave Maryland or even consider it but we decided it was the most prudent course of action. We could have been happy staying in Maryland for hundreds of years." The news immediately became an issue in the Maryland governor's race, with Republican nominee Larry Hogan blaming Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown for the looming job losses. "I am saddened to learn that the hard-working women and men I met at Beretta's factory in Accokeek in May will now lose their jobs as a direct result of the O'Malley-Brown administration's high taxes and punitive regulations," he said. "The loss of these several hundred jobs will tear through the local community.'" (BALTIMORE SUN, HARTFORD COURANT)
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