Gun stores, maker say a lot at stake when crafting lawsPosted: Updated:
As state lawmakers try to hammer out a deal on gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, those who make and sell guns are concerned about what could happen to their businesses.
Manufacturers may pack up and move if there is a ban, and sellers worry more background checks will cause delays.
Leaders from both parties have been meeting privately for weeks. They are under pressure to get something passed now that a few other states have acted.
In the meantime, new laws could affect Connecticut businesses.
Cabelas in East Hartford sells lots of firearms, including handguns, shotguns and rifles.
If you want to take one home, you have to fill out quite a bit of paperwork.
To buy a handgun in Connecticut, you need a Connecticut pistol permit. But, to buy a rifle or shotgun, you don't need a permit.
Because of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook and numerous others throughout the country, state lawmakers want universal background checks, which means background checks for all gun sales.
Currently it can take at least eight weeks to get a permit.
Cabela's General Retail Manager Ed Bartolotta told Eyewitness News that the system is already overloaded and said he feels it will take even longer if rifles and shotguns are added.
Bartolotta told Eyewitness News that people are willing to wait for other items such as passports and permit, but he said he wants to make sure the new laws "are beneficial to everyone."
"We want to make sure that the process is adding value to what we are doing and the correct people get firearms," he said.
Tighter gun control could have an even bigger effect on gun manufacturers if lawmakers expand the ban on assault weapons.
Stag Arms in New Britain would have to make more modifications to the AR-15, which is the same type of gun used in Newtown.
That, they said, will make the gun impossible to sell.
On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother while she slept in her bed before going to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he killed 20 children and six adults. He then killed himself as police entered the school.
Stag Arms President Mark Malkowski said about 20 states have contacted him and are offering factories and tax incentives to get the company to move.
Malkowski said he employs 200 workers. If he loses business, his suppliers would also be affected.
"If it continues to be a gun ban in the state of Connecticut, I have to explore my options," he said.
Lawmakers are expected to vote next week.
Meanwhile, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and leadership want more information on the investigation into Sandy Hook, and that will happen later this week.
The search warrants from the Newtown school shooting are expected to be unsealed in the next 36 hours.
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