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Here’s the headline that’s raising the alarm to every Middlesex – as well as Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield – village and farm: “Connecticut Spends $22 Million Luring Gun Seller.” Are there no depths to which The Gun Industry™ won’t sink? They already have Gun Valley, now they want to further insinuate themselves into the home of Newtown? Have they no shame? What gun runner has author Kevin Rennie’s head spinning? None other than that notorious promoter of bloodshed and death, Bass Pro Shops. “Bass Pro is one of the nation’s most prominent purveyors of guns. It sells the semi-automatic rifles, known as assault weapons, that Adam Lanza used on Dec. 14 to kill 20 children and six adults. Those guns are now illegal in Connecticut, but Bass Pro sells them in stores around the country. It also sells online and in stores the high-capacity ammunition magazines that are also illegal in Connecticut.” Online magazines? Say it ain’t so . . .

Rennie, who’s described as “a lawyer and a former Republican state legislator” is distraught by what he sees as Gov. Dannel Malloy’s inconsistent commitment to civilian disarmament. 

Just before the Newtown killings, Malloy tried to lure an assault weapons manufacturer into the state. His conversion to the ban was born of those horrifying events on that Friday morning. The impact on Malloy’s new attitude toward guns has not lasted eight months.

An assault weapons maker? Just before Newtown? Couldn’t Malloy have seen he was playing with fire? Obviously, ol’ Dannel’s not anti-gun enough. Gee, the People of the Gun would be excused for counting the Governor among the more ardent opponents of the Second Amendment. But that’s clearly not enough for Rennie.

Leave aside the arguments for and against state and local governments using public funds to entice businesses for the jobs and tax dollars they may (or may not) bring. Pretty much all states do it. It’s a fact of life. And you won’t find many fans of Malloy amongst TTAG habitués. But in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, Mr. Rennie apparently wants to apply a ballistic litmus test to any public expenditure in Connecticut.

Rennie says his real concern is the Newtown victims’ families.

Every time a victim’s surviving loved ones pay a tax in Connecticut, Malloy forces them to underwrite the proliferation of the weapons they despise. That’s (Malloy’s) legacy on guns.

Maybe Mr. Rennie hasn’t noticed that as taxpayers, our money – no matter where you live – goes toward all kinds of things plenty of us despise. But getting torqued about bringing a Bass Pro to the now-incongruously named Constitution State? What percentage of the typical Bass Pro outlet’s revenues do gun sales represent? Does this mean that the three WalMarts in Connecticut are now unwelcome? How about the Dick’s Sporting Goods stores? Never mind that Connecticut’s one of the most-indebted states in the country. Or that Bridgeport, the location of the proposed store, gives garden spots like Detroit, East St. Louis, Newark and the south side of Chicago a run for their money aesthetically. As far as Rennie’s concerned, if gun money’s involved, those 250-300 jobs clearly aren’t worth having.

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  1. I really can’t understand why these big outdoor stores continue to build in places very unfriendly to significant lines of their business. Bass Pro has a store in MA and now looks to be adding one in CT. Cabellas has one in CT and in northern Maine. Strangely absent are any such stores in New Hampshire which incidentally has no sales tax. One would think there would be value in dropping one of these right on the MA border near one of the major highways to capture a lot of the outdoorsman traffic.

    • They continue to build in these kind of locales because guns are a small part of their business. They make a lot more money selling T-shirts, backpacks, camping gear, etc. to the wealthy local liberals. It all has to do with making a sound business case, and these kind of areas are flush with cash and softcore outdoor enthusiasts. I always thought it was odd that there is a Cabelas in the middle of very urban Hartford, CT until I thought it through.

      • You have to look at all of CT. A large part of CT is still rural and there is a lot of outdoor activities. Many in CT also have home in NH and VT. There are plenty of camping and hiking and water sports in CT.

        The location of Bass and Cabela’s for one reason only. Tax breaks. Otherwise, there are plenty of outdoorsman in CT and plenty of other locations they could have setup shop.

    • The Cabella’s in Hartford is awesome as a an outdoors/fishing/hunting store, but as a gun store it is totally weak sauce. Much better to go to Hoffman’s just 15 minutes away.

      The gun section is maybe 5-7% of the floor space, and a lot of it is old Fud stuff.

  2. If I were in charge of Bass Pro Shops I’d say “Thanks, but no thanks. The political climate of your state would make doing business there very difficult. We’ll set up shop somewhere a bit more friendly to our kind and take our SIGNIFICANT TAX REVENUE elsewhere.”

    • I suspect they did that just before the significant tax break was offered. Business understands politicians.

  3. @ Jim B – Maine is pretty firearm-friendly….MUCH moreso than CT/MA/RI. Up in Maine, I can open carry without a permit and transport a firearm in the open in a vehicle – try that around my parts in RI, and I’d be screwed. Scarborough Maine isn’t exactly “northern”…’s in southern Maine, just below Portland. We even go shooting in local public sand pits up there too (totally legal), which is nice. Southern New England sucks….was never a huge fan of Maine until I got into firearms. Susan Collins needs to go though.

    • I was stationed in Connecticut in the 70s (the sub base in New London) and roamed all over New England. Maine and New Hampshire (and, to a lesser extent, Vermont) struck me as very rural, laid-back places that were essentially Southern states with brutal winters. Aside from Boston being one of my favorite places to spend a day walking around, Mass. never impressed me – Gestapo-trained highway patrolmen that made driving to Maine an interesting experience, every time. Connecticut and Rhode Island were, as mentioned above, surprisingly rural but still had a very high population density. I had a Mini-14 (the height of 1978 tacticool, with three 5-round magazines) and a very sweet Savage 99A in .250-3000 and traded both of them off because aside from the National Guard range where we qualified with the M-14 there was no place to shoot them.

    • In the KC Bass Pro about 10days ago. Prettys sure I recall seeing camo with pink trim girlie undies. Duck Dynasty as I recall. Seems to me that would be about ideal for Ms. Rennie.

    • Your barking at the wrong guy, read the article again. Including the last few paragraphs.

      This is a political piece calling Malloy a hypocrite and bashing Blumenthal and Murphy as well.

  4. The Bass Pro Shop deal was way before Newtown and it promised jobs. NOBODY in their right mind would invest in Bridgeport if it was not padded by state dollars given the hell hole that is Bridgeport and the corruption of a perpetual democrat held government that has been there since I grew up in the city.

    This snippet from the article should tell you everything. And if you want to know even more, read the Forbes Article “How Did Rich Connecticut Morph Into One Of America’s Worst Performing Economies?”

    “Malloy is just beginning heaping his largesse on Bass Pro. The first round of public funds comes from what looks like a political arm of his administration, Connecticut Innovations, known as CI. That’s the agency that hired the wife of Democratic U.S. Rep. John Larson last year for an executive assistant’s job with, to put it kindly, the thinnest of qualifications.

    Now CI is doing more of Malloy’s dirty work. The governor is a hostage to the Democratic political machine in Bridgeport that delivered his narrow margin of victory in 2010. Though gun violence continues to rip the social fabric of bloody Bridgeport, the city’s leaders want economic development projects at any price, even if it comes with the sale of more guns within its borders as it initiates gun buybacks.”

    The current like to over play everything, there have been 7 homicides in Bridgeport for 2013 which averages about 15. Not exactly Chiraq.

    The Democratic lead Bridgeport Government has screwed itself in every attempt to help the city. Ask Donald Trump how stupid the city has been. My understanding is Bass will only be selling Shotguns so that will make Biden happy.

  5. Disclaimer: I have a Degree in Economics from the University of Wis. Hardly a clone of the Univ. of Chicago.
    Attracting (subsidizing) a retail store with tax payer money is folly. A retail outlet is a COST of the manufacturing/distribution process.
    It does not PRODUCE anything. If there was an endless line of end user customers waiting at the side door of the Smith &Wesson AR manufacturing plant, they would take the money with no middle man, maximizing profits. But they need to get the ARs out to the country, Bass Pro shop buys trucks comes and gets them, builds stores, hires sales people etc., this adds costs to your AR.
    Governors should have nothing to do with where a store is located. This rail against him and BPS should be about the economic drain on tax payers. If I am against guns, I damn well should be upset that my taxes are subsidizing their sale. She has an argument, just the wrong one.
    If no state or town was paying businesses to locate, they would end up in the most economically efficient place. What they make and sell would be cheaper because if some of those cost dollars are flowing through politicians hands you know that ain’t economical. It’s just that when you go to buy your AR, you forget to add on the portion of your taxes that went to Bass Pro Shops.
    And your neighbor who pays taxes and buys nothing at BPS gets nothing for their money.
    BTW, we only have Gander and Cabelas in our area, no Bass Pro Shop, but I do watch Top Shot.

    • I was absent from law school the day they taught economics, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express so I know that a town or city’s money would be better spent on welfare and extravagant union pensions.

  6. CT got away cheap. Any private developer who wants a Bass Pro to anchor its shopping center has to pay the retailer about $25 million.

  7. This shows how bat$hit insane the antis are. I hope they keep this up. Killing jobs, decreasing tax revenue, hurting struggling communities, limiting consumer freedom, all in the name of taking away illegal (see all in their mind) guns. The more they shout the more the middle of the road lay person, and fudd gun owner, realizes they are crazy. I never saw Bass Pro as a high speed lo-drag tacticool kinda place. To me it has always been a fudd and granola hangout where you can get a rod, and some hiking sandals, and maybe an over priced shotgun. BTW I like Bass Pro, not picking on them, just pointing out my opinion on their customer base.

  8. I don’t like my tax money being spent to pay the salaries of government employees. Where can I apply for a refund as I have not been getting any value for my money!

    • if it was only so easy.

      The gun club I belong to has been at its location some 80years+. There was a time when only a dirt road through the wood could get you to the range and club house. The town and the state allowed homes to be built into the area despite objections from the club. Then homes came and the people moving in darn well knew there was a gun club where it is since it has been there for 80+ years. First thing the progressives anti-gun people do after they move in, they keep petitioning the town to have the gun range that has stood there for 80+ years which they knew they would be moving close to removed.

      The state finally passed a law recognizing all gun clubs and that stopped them from trying every trick in the book to eliminate the club. The club has since been purchasing homes on its perimeter as they come up for sale and having them demolished.

      So these self proclaimed open minded progressives instead of finding a different neighborhood to move to, purposely moved into an area they did not like and then tried to force to government to do their dirty work. In that simple story of reality, is how the progressive mind works.

      • Where do you shoot? Looking for a good outdoor range. There’s a couple of good indoor places near me, but I need something outdoors and am prepared to do some driving if necessary.

  9. This clown Rennie is “a former Republican state legislator”??

    A Republican, and he thinks like that? What planet? Bizarro World?

    Oh, he’s a lawyer. Well I guess that explains part of it.

    • @Quentin, Alan Gura and Robert Levy are lawyers, too — and they saved our @sses with Heller and McDonald. Maybe you should think before you write.

  10. I’ll join the courant in their outrage. Using tax dollars to attempt to draw a business is corporate welfare and therefore wrong.

  11. “Semi automatic rifles, known as assault weapons …”

    Oh wait, so you’re telling me you’ve always wanted to ban all semi-auto rifles and that your cosmetic feature test was always a road to lessen the number of features until you outright ban semi-auto rifles like California is now trying to do? Say it aint so! /sarcasm

    Here let me me fix that for you:

    “Semi automatic rifles, that i call assault weapons cause i have no idea wtf i’m talking about and it scares low information voters easier …”

    Man when the SCOTUS strikes down all this garbage you’re gonna panic, not because you actually think the country will be more dangerous, i’m not trying to insult your intelligence here, but because your road to the absolute destruction of the civilian ownership of firearms will have been blocked off. But hey, if they don’t strike it down and accept your reasoning that the 2A is the weakest fundamental right in the whole of constitution that requires no justification infringe, then congratulations, you’ve managed to amend the constitution without going through the actual legislative process.

  12. “Connecticut Spends $22 Million Luring Gun Seller.” Money that would’ve have better spent on education, since the lawmakers in Connecticut seem to be poorly educated when it come to guns…

  13. Expansion and locations are not chosen by customers but by market studies, projections and board room politics

  14. Bass Pro Shops wanted to set up shop in my city, Fresno, CA. Of course, the mayor didn’t want any of that shit and shooed them off to Modesto. So there goes a potential for a great boost in revenue, while they spend millions of dollars in renovating a crappy museum that has failed three times now.

    Sometimes I wonder if these politicians just paid for their qualifications and took office, knowing nothing about running a city.

  15. As I mentioned above, I was stationed in Connecticut a long time ago. When I wasn’t deployed I lived on the outskirts of Norwich, which is about 13 miles upriver from the submarine base. WAY before Foxwoods, which I understand has totally changed my sleepy little riverfront town. But it was a hoot while roaming around dive bars that were out of a Bukowski novel to reflect that this was the town that gave America the Hopkins and Allen revolver, back when a mail-order American-made $3 breaktop .32 was a God-given right.

  16. We have a shopping mall in Harrisburg that would have completely dried up and blown away by now if Bass Pro hadn’t moved in. It’s the only thing holding it there now. Not a great gun store, but it’s not bad for some other gear.

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