2016 Candidate Endorsements

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League is a non-partisan, grassroots organization devoted to advocating rights affirmed by the Constitutions of the United States of America and the State of Connecticut.

For the upcoming 2016 election, the CCDL Executive Committee has considered the past voting record and views that each candidate holds with respect to our constitutional rights.

This year, our job of vetting candidates has come with some regret. Some legislators we endorsed in the past have voted for a gun control bill (HB5054) this past session. Interestingly enough, some legislators who voted for gun control in 2013 reversed course and did not support gun control efforts this year. While we applaud this turn around, at this time we simply cannot endorse candidates who supported SB1160 in 2013.

One important point: This year, more legislators from both parties voted for anti-gun bills, than voted for them during the emotionally charged 2013 session. This trend should concern all gun owners, and be a cause for them to actively support the following candidates:

CCDL Endorsed Candidate List updated 11/4/16

CT House:
District  Candidate Name  Towns Represented

8 Timothy J. ‘Tim’ Ackert – Columbia, Coventry, Tolland, Vernon
9 Richard Lion – East Hartford, Manchester
13 Mark Tweedie – Glastonbury, Manchester
23 Devin R Carney – Lyme, Old Lyme, Saybrook, Westbrook
24 Jim Sanders – New Britain, Newington
30 Chris Morelli – Berlin, Southington
33 Linda J Szynkowicz – Middletown
34 Melissa H. Ziobron – Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton
35 Jesse D MacLachlan – Clinton, Killingworth, Westbrook
36 Bob Siegrist – Chester, Deep River, Essex, Haddam
37 Holly H Cheeseman – East Lyme, Salem
38 Lauren Shaw – Montville, Waterford
39 Andrew Lockwood – New London
40 John F Scott – Groton, Ledyard
41 Aundre P Bumgardner – Groton, New London
42 Mike France – Ledyard, Montville, Preston
44 Anne Dauphinais – Killingly, Plainfield
45 Kevin Skulczyck – Griswold, Lisbon, Plainfield, Sterling, Voluntown
45 Tracey Hanson – Griswold, Lisbon, Plainfield, Sterling, Voluntown
47 Doug Dubitsky – Norwich, Sprague, Franklin, Lebanon, Lisbon, Hampton, Chaplin, Canterbury, Scotland
48 Evan A. Evans – Colchester, Lebanon, Mansfield, Windham
49 Tony Fantoli – Windham
50 Pat Boyd – Brooklyn, Eastford, Pomfret, Union, Woodstock
52 Kurt Vail – Somers, Stafford
53 Sam Belsito – Ashford, Tolland, Willington
57 Christopher C Davis – East Windsor, Ellington
61 Tami Zawistowski – Suffield, East Granby, Windsor
62 Bill Simanski – Barkhamsted, East Granby, Granby, New Hartford
63 Jay M. Case – Colebrook, Goshen, Torrington, Winchester
64 Brian Ohler – Canaan, Cornwall, Goshen, Kent, Norfolk, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon,Torrington
66 David T Wilson – Bethlehem, Litchfield, Morris, Warren, Woodbury
68 Eric C. Berthel – Oakville, Watertown, Woodbury
70 Rosa Rebimbas – Naugatuck
73 Steve Giacomi – Waterbury
76 John E Piscopo – Burlington, Harwinton, Litchfield, Thomaston
77 Cara C Pavalock – Bristol
78 Whit Betts – Bristol, Plymouth, Terryville
80 Robert C. ‘Rob’ Sampson – Wolcott, Southington
83 Joseph Vollano – Berlin, Meriden
85 Serge G Mihaly – Wallingford
86 Vincent Candelora – Durham, Guilford, North Branford, Wallingford
88 Marjorie Bonadies – Hamden
89 Lezlye Zupkus – Bethany, Cheshire, Prospect
90 Craig Fishbein – Cheshire, Wallingford
99 Steve Tracey – East Haven
102 Chris Kelly – Branford
103 Andy Falvey – Cheshire, Southington, Wallingford
104 Joseph Jaumann – Ansonia, Derby
112 J.P. Sredzinski – Monroe, Newtown
113 Jason Perillo – Shelton
118 Rick Varrone – Milford
119 Pam Staneski – Orange, Milford
122 Ben McGorty – Shelton, Stratford, Trumbull
126 Anthony Pizighelli – Bridgeport
131 David K. Labriola – Naugatuck, Oxford, Southbury

CT Senate:
District  Candidate Name  Towns Represented

2 Theresa Tillett – Hartford, Bloomfield, Windsor
6 Charles Paonessa – Berlin, Farmington, New Britain
7 John A. Kissel – East Granby, Enfield, Granby, Somers, Suffield, Windsor, Windsor Locks
8 Kevin D Witkos – Avon, Barkhamsted, Canton, Colebrook, Granby, Hartland, Harwinton, New Hartford, Norfolk, Simsbury, Torrington
13 Len Suzio – Cheshire, Meriden, Middletown, Middlefield
14 Pat Libero – Milford, Orange, West Haven, Woodbridge
16 Joe Markley – Cheshire, Prospect, Southington, Wolcott, Waterbury
18 Heather Somers – Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington, Voluntown
19 Barbara Crouch – Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich, Sprague
19 Catherine A. ‘Cathy’ Osten – Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich, Sprague
20 Paul M Formica – Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Salem, Waterford
22 Elaine Hammers – Bridgeport, Monroe, Trumbull
29 John French – Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson, Windham
30 Craig A Miner – Brookfield, Canaan, Cromwell, Goshen, Kent, Litchfield, Morris, New Milford, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon, Torrington, Warren, Winchester
31 Henri R Martin – Bristol, Harwinton, Plainville, Plymouth, Thomaston
32 Robert J. ‘Rob’ Kane – Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Middlebury, Oxford, Seymour, Southbury, Roxbury, Washington, Watertown, Woodbury
33 Art Linares – Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, Westbrook
35 Tony Guglielmo – Ashford, Chaplin, Coventry, Eastford, Ellington, Hampton, Pomfret, Stafford, Tolland, Union, Vernon, Willington, Woodstock

US House:
District  Candidate Name

1 Matthew Corey
2 Daria Novak
2 Dan Reale
3 Angel Cadena
5 Clay Cope

US Senate:
Candidate Name

Dan Carter

*CCDL reserves the right to add or remove candidates as they are vetted by the Executive Committee. This page may be updated to reflect that.

11/4/2016 – Added:
CT House 48 Evan Evans

10/26/2016 – Added:
CT House 9 Richard Lion
CT House 112 J.P. Sredzinski
US House 2 Dan Reale

10/25/2016 – Added:
CT House 99 Steve Tracey
CT House 104 Joseph Jaumann

10/12/2016 – Added:
CT House 102 Chris Kelly

10/4/2016 – Added:
CT House 45 Tracey Hanson
CT House 126 Anthony Pizighelli
CT Senate 14 Pat Libero

8/28/2016 – Added:
CT House 39 Andrew Lockwood
CT House 50 Pat Boyd
CT House 66 David T Wilson
CT House 118 Rick Varrone
CT Senate 6 Charles Paonessa
CT Senate 22 Elaine Hammers

8/8/2016 – Added:
CT House 45 Kevin Skulczyck
CT House 83 Joseph Vollano
CT House 88 Marjorie Bonadies

8/8/2016 – Corrected:
CT House 63 Jay Case (corrected towns covered)

7/4/2016 – Added:
CT House 68 Eric Berthel
CT House 86 Vin Candelora

6/29/2016 – Added:
CT House 78 Whit Betts
US House 1 Matthew Corey

Supreme Court Declines To Hear Challenge



DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – The United States Supreme Court declined on Monday to review a lower court’s ruling refusing to strike down on Second Amendment grounds Connecticut’s ban on certain semi-automatic firearms including the most popular rifles in the Nation. The Connecticut Citizens’ Defense League (CCDL) and other plaintiffs challenged Connecticut’s ban in 2013, arguing that the ban openly flouts the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which held that law-abiding citizens have an individual right to keep commonly owned firearms in their homes for self-defense.

According to Scott Wilson, President of the CCDL, the banned firearms are very rarely used by criminals, and the only things that distinguish them from non-banned firearms are external features such as thumbhole stocks and pistol grips that promote safe and accurate use. While criminals typically do not use the banned firearms, law-abiding citizens do. Mr. Wilson stated that “the firearms the State has chosen to ban are very frequently used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes such as home-defense, hunting, and target shooting. In fact, one of the banned firearms, the AR-15, is the best-selling rifle in the United States.”

The federal courts have split over the correct way to analyze Second Amendment challenges after Heller, with most courts applying a fairly weak form of review ordinarily reserved for less-important rights. The Plaintiffs, Mr. Wilson said, had hoped the High Court would step in and reaffirm that the Second Amendment is not a “second-class” right. The lower court’s decision in this case was particularly indefensible, as the unconstitutionality of Connecticut’s ban follows directly from the Supreme Court’s reasoning in Heller. Mr. Wilson suggested that the Court’s decision to decline review may have been influenced by the recent, unfortunate death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the author if the Heller decision.

“We fully intend to renew our challenge to Connecticut’s blatantly unconstitutional ban as soon as there are five Justices sitting on the Supreme Court committed to the proper understanding of the Second Amendment.”

Scott Wilson Sr.
CCDL, Inc.

Senate Minority Leader Supports the 2nd Amendment, But…

Len Fasano is Connecticut’s Senate Minority Leader. In 2013 he proudly supported Governor Malloy’s gun bans. This year however, he opposed HB5054, a gun confiscation bill.
On June 15th he was a guest on 94.9fm’s Lee Elci Show. Once again, the hot topic is gun control, and Fasano had PLENTY to say on the subject.

Before we go any further, take a listen to what he had to say about gun control and so-called “assault weapons”.

Now, CCDL prides itself on our attempts to build bridges and have good relationships with legislators, and that includes Len Fasano; but uninformed responses in the media that are way off base concern us. Referring to the AR-15 sporting rifle as an “AR-16”, calling it a “machinegun” (it’s not) and discussing how it’s used by the military (it’s not) just perpetuates the wrong information and outright lies being spread by the anti-rights crowd.

As an organization, and as voting citizens of Connecticut, we do not understand why our legislators continually fixate on inanimate objects instead of tackling the root causes of these types of problems.

We also feel that those legislators taking opposing views should at least have the basic knowledge and understanding about what they are talking about. Especially one of the leaders who was part of a historical legislative session surrounding exactly this key issue. Despite his attendance at a legislators only shooting event CCDL hosted last year to educate lawmakers, Fasano STILL does not appear to understand the differences between the AR-15 available to civilians that shoots 1 bullet per pull of the trigger (exactly like granddad’s old hunting rifle), and the similar looking but functionally different fully automatic M16 rifle that is only available to military and law enforcement; not the general public.

Election time is right around the corner. It is imperative that Connecticut gun owners do everything they can to get people elected who understand our rights and will fight to protect them. Contact to your current legislators. Educate them on the FACTS about firearms. Remind them how important your rights are, and that you’ll be voting for those who 100% support those rights. Don’t vote for someone who claims to support the 2nd Amendment, but then bargains it away when it comes up for a vote.

CCDL will soon be releasing our first round of endorsements to help you in finding pro2A candidates to support. When it comes out, PLEASE find at least one candidate you can donate some time/money toward.
Our rights depend on it!

Press Release – Orlando Nightclub Shooting

for Immediate Release:

Scott Wilson, President of the  Connecticut Citizens Defense League, issues the following statements in response to Senators Blumenthal and Murphy’s comments about the Orlando nightclub mass shooting:

“While CCDL members and most compassionate Americans are still thinking only of the victims and families of this horrific act,  Senators Blumenthal and Murphy are more concerned with advancing their political careers. Once again our two senators are calling for more laws that would only impact persons who actually obey the laws of our society. The individual who perpetrated this mass shooting broke numerous laws, and it is bordering on insanity at this point for those looking to score political points over this incident to believe otherwise”.

“It is shameful that our two senators fail to address the root causes behind these incidents. They would rather curtail lawful gun ownership than deal with those more difficult issues.”

“Again we have  a shooting in a so-called ‘gun free zone’; a location where it is against the law for licensed and background checked persons to carry a firearm for protection. In Florida it is illegal to carry a firearm into any portion of an establishment that serves alcoholic beverages. Again, a murderer ignored the laws.”

Wilson went on to say the following:

“If certain lawmakers are looking to place the blame for these types of incidents, they should look squarely in the mirror and admit to themselves that the utopian fantasies of gun free zones simply do not work. For the proponents of gun control, these incidents are the gifts that allow them to renew the push for their failed agenda”.

About the CCDL: The Connecticut Citizens Defense League was formed in 2009 by a small group of concerned citizens as a non-partisan organization to advocate second amendment rights in the state of Connecticut. Since their founding, the group has grown to over 23,000 members from across the state.

Thanks to this large supportive base, the CCDL has become a fixture at the state capitol, and well-recognized by committees that see firearms related bills.

As the go-to organization in the state they are consulted regularly by lawmakers who have questions and concerns about pending legislation or existing laws. For more information on the CCDL please visit http://www.ccdl.us

Press Contact:

Scott Wilson


Update On Supreme Court Case

Just a quick update to let our members know what’s happening with Shew v Malloy. As most know, we petitioned the Supreme Court to hear our appeal. The State of Connecticut has asked the court not to hear our case. You can read their argument why here:
Shew-v-Malloy 15-1030 – Respondents’ Opposition to Cert Petition (pdf)

Out legal team has fired back; pointing out how and why the State is incorrect. You can read our response here:
Shew-v-Malloy 15-1030 rb (pdf)