Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D.) came out this week in support of a push for lawmakers to strike any mention of the National Rifle Association from state statutes, saying that the Second Amendment group has "in essence become a terrorist organization."
Malloy said that he agreed with the mayor of Hartford, Connecticut, Luke Bronin, who called on state legislators to remove the NRA's name from Connecticut laws, Fox 61 reported Tuesday.
Connecticut residents who want to obtain a firearm permit need to pass a basic safety training course and get certified. State law currently lists the NRA training course as an approved one through which Connecticut residents can obtain a firearm permit.
Connecticut is one of 15 states that recognizes the NRA as an accredited organization to provide firearm safety training, according to the NRA.
"The idea that the NRA should be recognized as a voice for gun safety is ridiculous," Bronin said on Tuesday night, after calling for its name to be removed from state laws earlier in the week. "If the NRA had its way we wouldn't be permitting in the first place. This is an organization that opposes universal background checks despite the fact that overwhelming majority of Americans and even a large number of NRA members support universal background checks."
Malloy indicated that he agrees with Bronin.
"They act quite frankly in some cases as a terrorist organization," Malloy said of the NRA on Monday. "You want to make safer guns? We will boycott your company. That's who they are. That's what they do."
"The NRA today is a far cry from the NRA that in 1999 said that teachers shouldn't carry weapons in schools," Malloy continued. "Or in the 90's said we should have universal background checks. They have in essence become a terrorist organization."
Gun owners across Connecticut rebuked Bronin's initial comments.
Catherine Mortensen, a spokeswoman for the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, slammed Bronin's call and said that the mayor was putting politics above public safety.
"No organization in the world does more to promote the safe and responsible use of firearms than the NRA. The NRA's Basics of Pistol Shooting course is the best training available for anyone seeking to carry a concealed firearm for self-protection," Mortensen said in a statement. "By eliminating the NRA training and standards for Connecticut's permit holders, Mayor Bronin is putting politics above the safety of Connecticut citizens."
Another NRA spokeswoman, Jennifer Baker, responded to Malloy's comments calling the gun-rights group a terrorist organization.
"The NRA is comprised of over five million law-abiding citizens many of whom are teachers, doctors, policeman, farmers, moms, and dads residing in Connecticut. So let's be clear: Governor Malloy just called tens of thousands of his constituents terrorists," Baker said in a statement.
Bronin served as general counsel in the Malloy administration before leaving in 2015 to launch a run for mayor of Hartford. In December, Bronin formally set up an exploratory committee to consider a bid for governor to succeed Malloy.
Polling conducted by Morning Consult has shown that Malloy is one of the most unpopular governors in the U.S.