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Democrat state leaders respond after gun rights group sues Connecticut’s assault weapons ban

“Connecticut’s gun laws are constitutional, period,” said state Attorney General William Tong.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Tuesday, Democrat state leaders met to denounce a new lawsuit filed by the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), seeking to overturn Connecticut’s bans on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.

They said lawsuits like this one are “manufacturing controversy” and state representatives will fight to protect Connecticut’s gun control laws.

“Connecticut’s gun laws are constitutional, period,” said state Attorney General William Tong.

Gun control advocates disagree–they argue these laws infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens.  

This latest suit comes after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a New York gun law in June. Tong said that invited a wave of new lawsuits challenging gun control legislation in Connecticut and nationwide.

RELATED: After Supreme Court ruling, it's open season on US gun laws

“This is not a fight that we chose, I want to be clear about that,” Tong said. “Nobody wants to be here, we have to be here.”

This lawsuit questions the phrase “assault weapon,” calling it a “political term” not widely used in the firearms industry for weapons commonly used by citizens.

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“This is not a political moment,” said Jeremy Stein, executive director of CT Against Gun Violence. “This is about our safety, our lives, about our children.” 

Most of the representatives at Tuesday's press conference though, are up for reelection this year, and all took jabs at Republican gubernatorial challenger Bob Stefanowski, calling him extreme. 

“Bob Stefanowski has been endorsed by the NRA,” said Democrat candidate for state comptroller, Sean Scanlon. “Gun safety is on the ballot.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Stefanowski’s campaign wrote, “Bob Stefanowski and Laura Devlin feel that Connecticut’s gun laws are a template of what federal laws and other states should look to—they do not support making any changes to Connecticut’s gun laws, including the assault weapons ban.”

Democrats said they’re not convinced.

RELATED: Connecticut's assault weapons ban challenged in lawsuit once again

“To say that you would not stand behind those laws, he doesn’t get to change his mind,” Tong said. “It’s disqualifying.”

Tong and others reiterated Tuesday, they will win this legal battle.

We reached out to the NAGR for comment, but they did not respond. Similar lawsuits from the group were filed against Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Colorado, as well as Highland Park and Naperville, Illinois.

Emma Wulfhorst is a political reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at ewulfhorst@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram


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