2019 was an eventful year for CCDL. It marked the end of an incredible decade of growth for the organization from just a few concerned residents around a table to a remarkable membership of 35,000. There are not words enough to thank Scott Wilson, all the founding members, committee members and volunteers throughout the past decade for their hard work and dedication. Their commitment to our cause laid the foundation for the next leadership team to continue to strengthen the organization in exciting new ways to come in 2020.

This year also marks the beginning of CCDL’s Outreach Program which will make our organization more successful in protecting the rights of Connecticut citizens by better leveraging our greatest strength - our members. We encourage all members to get to know our Outreach organizers and be involved in gun rights issues in your hometown.

Looking back, below is a recap of some of the activities that happened during 2019.

 January

Monthly Membership Meeting on January 8th.Highlights included early discussion of what would become Ethan’s law. We also conducted a preparatory review of how to engage legislators on the positions of the proposed bills in anticipation of the legislative session.

Tracked more than 90 Firearm related bills that were proposed at the state level. The vast majority of the bills never proceeded.

Executive Meeting on the 22nd.

February

Enjoined an amicus brief in Support of Right to Carry Petition in New Jersey.  The brief filed is in support of the petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court in Rogers v. Grewal, No. 18-824. CCDL is proud to support our neighbors in nearby New Jersey and recognize that successes in states like this effect our members and the gun community as a whole.

Legislative Workshops - Windsor Marksmen’s Association on the 2nd. New Haven Sportsman’s Club and Southington Sportsman’s Association for a total attendance of 225 people which was around 80 more than 2018.

Ray spoke at Connecticut Conservation Advisory Council and Bloomfield Fish and Game.

Held a pistol permit class at the Metacon Gun Club on the 10th.

Membership meeting was cancelled due to weather.

10th Anniversary Dinner on the 23rd at La Bella Vista in Waterbury. We could not have been more pleased with the warm reception by our new venue. It was our largest anniversary dinner to date. More than 100 raffle items went home with members and a memorable evening was had by all. Tickets to our next dinner are available HERE.

Executive Meeting on the 26th.

March

Dozens of CCDL members attended the 14 hour long public hearing on gun bills at the Legislative Office Building on the 11th and offered pubic testimony in opposition or support of the bills that were being considered to advance to a vote. Ray hand delivered 400 hand written letters to legislators from our members. However, while our side saw a 22% increase in written testimonies, the other side had a 58% increase over the prior year which highlights our need to engage more members in 2020.

Monthly Membership Meeting on the 12th. Highlights included guest of honor House Representative Tim Ackert who was selected as CCDL’s 2018 Legislator of the Year as well as a review of the judiciary committee hearing the night prior.

Executive Meeting on the 26th.

27th - Several executive committee members participated in a panel discussion at the University of New Haven. The committee members were thrilled for the opportunity to have thoughtful dialogue with students from both sides of the gun debate. This laid the foundation for an event to come in September in which CCDL co-sponsored to host Maj Toure at the University.

29th - 31st  CCDL hosted a booth at the 22nd Annual Northeast Fishing & Hunting Show. Many thanks to our volunteers and committee members for making this another great event.

April

2nd- Several committee members attended the Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Game Tasting Reception at the Legislative Office Building, further building dialogue with our representatives.

Ray spoke at the Central Connecticut Safari International Chapter and Hamden Fish and Game Protective Association. Additionally, he worked diligently alongside our legislators on language revisions to H.B. 7219 AAC Ghost Guns and H.B. 7223 AAC The Storage Of A Pistol Or Revolver In A Motor Vehicle.

Membership Meeting on the 9th. Highlights included a legislative review of the efforts made in Hartford. While we did not have the votes in the house to fully defeat some of the bills we would have liked to, CCDL was instrumental in fighting for the revision of language that would have actual impact. Substitute language requires the State Board of Education to develop guides to aid local and regional boards of education in developing firearm safety programs for students in grades kindergarten through twelve. CCDL believes that education, more than prohibitions, is the key to actual prevention.

20th- Several committee members represented CCDL at the Central Connecticut Safari Club International Sportsmen’s Dinner.

22nd- Committee member Dr. Walt Kupson attended the Gun Safety and Public Health Panel at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. He followed up with the legislators providing much needed balance from a physician on our side of the debate.

Executive Meeting on the 23rd.

May

Monthly Membership Meeting on the 14th. Highlights included a discussion of CCDL’s decision to join the lawsuit Duncan v Becerra. In 2016, California passed a law, Cal. Penal Code § 32310. This Act banned not just the sale, but also the mere possession of any magazine that can hold more than ten rounds. There are estimates of more than 100 million such magazines in the United States, and they are perfectly legal in most states.  In California, this new law would have required citizens who possessed such magazines to remove them from the state, transfer them to a licensed dealer, or surrender them to a law enforcement agency for destruction. In 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California enjoined (prohibited) the enforcement of this new law. CCDL feels that this case is relative and pertinent to the residents of Connecticut and will file as a joint legal party in the case.

Executive Meeting on the 28th.

June

Monthly Membership Meeting on the 11th.Highlights included the first introduction to the development of the Outreach Committee which will be key in more effectively engaging our members at a local level. CCDL also provided an overview of the bills that ultimately passed during the legislative session and the impact they would have on our members.

Filed an amicus curiae brief in the Connecticut Supreme Court opposing an attempt to impose legal liability on the manufacturers and sellers of the firearm used in the Sandy Hook tragedy. CCDL was among the first joint filers on the side of Remington Arms in this lawsuit.

CCDL was represented by Scott and Ray at a presentation to the Quiet Corner Tea Party Meeting.

15th- Several committee members staffed a table at a meet and greet event at The Gun Store in Waterbury.

Executive Meeting on the 25th.

July

Monthly Membership Meeting on the 9th.Highlights included a review of the lawsuit filed by New York State Rifle and Pistol Association against the City of New York. CCDL (along with other groups) is filing an Amicus Brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in support of the plaintiffs in this case. This could be a landmark decision that could impact gun rights throughout the nation.

Ray presented a CCDL overview at Danielson Veterans Coffeehouse.

CCDL began the initial stages of involvement in the Kent Planning and Zoning concerns regarding gun retailers in that town.

Executive Meeting on the 23rd.

August 

Monthly Membership Meeting on the 13th. Highlights included welcoming NRA Board member candidate Tom Ellis and Meriden Mayoral candidate Ernestine Holloway. Guest speakers also included attorney Greg Miller and NRA Youth Education Summit attendee Stephanie Weber. Attorney Miller provided an

11th Annual Family Picnic on the 24th. A tremendous thank you to all of the volunteers and members who attended. Nearly 500 CCDL members enjoyed a day of exceptional weather among friends. Remaining food was donated to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

Executive Meeting on the 27th.

September

6th- CCDL welcomed Maj Toure at the University of New Haven who spoke to an engaged audience of students from various perspectives on gun issues. Maj is the founder of Black Guns Matter and has a uniquely CCDL was pleased to partner with the Federation of College Republicans on the event. Also, we are grateful to NSSF for their contribution of literature for the attendees.

7th- Maj Toure was the keynote speaker at the Rally at the capitol cohosted by CCDL. CCDL was pleased to partner with the Libertarian Party of CT on this event. Additional speakers included Scott Wilson, Holly Sullivan, Marcos Diaz of Ammo Crafters, Peter Estrada of Urban 2A and Rod Hanscomb of the Libertarian Party.

Monthly Membership Meeting on the 10th. Highlights included an updates to town ordinance concerns regarding 2A restrictions in the towns of Kent and Griswold and how members can work towards defeating them. We also discussed Governor Lamont’s joint letter with other Governors calling upon Mitch McConnell to implement extreme ridk protection orders, universal background checks, bans on assault weapons and stricter mental health reporting.

29th- Ray spoke at the Southington Constitution and Voting Awareness Rally

October

Executive Meeting on the 1st.

5th- Ray spoke at the Quiet Corner Freedom Festival in Killingly.

6th – CCDL hosted a legislative shoot at Blue Trail Range in Wallingford. All state legislators, regardless of party affiliation or voting history are invited and encouraged to learn about firearms and current laws and processes. This year we focused on the pistol permit process and the need for uniformed criteria legislation. On the range we focused on all platforms of .22’s (single shot, lever, pump, bolt, semi, and modern). We had mostly reactive targets and legislators asked some great questions. We appreciate the work by all of our volunteers and Blue Trail Range for making it another success.

Monthly Membership Meeting on the 8th. Highlights included guest speaker Aaron Lewis, pro2A libertarian who was running for Mayor of Hartford. We also announced that we had a bus organized to bring CCDL members to the Second Amendment Rally in Washington DC on November 2. We reviewed updates in the towns of Griswold and Kent.

20th- Meet and greet event with new regional managers of the CCDL Outreach Committee

Executive Meeting on the 22nd.

Co-filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States (Worman v Healy) along with several Law Enforcement and other 2nd Amendment advocacy groups on the 25th. The summary of our argument is that the 1st Circuit Appellate Court did not properly apply the Heller decision for commonly used firearms and magazines that may contain over 10 rounds. CCDL is proud to stand in support of gun owners and 2nd Amendment activists in neighboring Massachusetts.

November

CCDL provided a bus to the national gun rights rally in Washington D.C.on the 2nd. We had a nearly full charter bus and even more CCDL members drove themselves and convened on the lawn of the Capitol. It was an incredible opportunity to hear pro2a speakers from across the country.

Monthly Membership Meeting on the 12th. Highlights included an update on the hearings in the town of Kent which had grown tense after gun stores were compared to retailers such as marijuana dispensaries and adult toy shops. We also reviewed updates on the Worman v Healy and Soto v Remington lawsuits. Additionally, we reviewed some concerns over announcements from the CT State Police regarding new canine training. Notably, Scott announced that he would not be seeking another term as President and that the committee members would be voting for board members for the next two year term.

December

Executive Meeting on the 3rd.  The executive committee elected Holly Sullivan as President, Frank Russello as Vice-President, Bob Starr as Treasurer, and Michele McBrien as Secretary.

A majority of the executive committee attended a Quiet Corner Tea Party event.

Holly gave interviews with Channel 12, Eye on the Target Radio and CT News Junkie.

Monthly Membership Meeting on the 10th. Highlights include a moment to commemorate the life of Teddie Ackert, wife of Tim Ackert. The new executive board members Holly Sullivan, Frank Russello, Bob Starr and Michelle McBrien took a few minutes to speak to the membership. The Legislator of the Year award was presented to House Representative Doug Dubitsky, who continues to stand in fierce defense of the Second Amendment. Additionally, we announced that beginning February 11th, membership meetings would be at the New Britain VFW instead of the Middletown venue.

2019 was a busy year with a long legislative session. As CCDL continues to grow and develop, we are looking for the time and talents of our members. We encourage anyone interested in being more involved to connect with our membership coordinator Kris Witherill. 2020 is already off to an exciting start with a board charged with tremendous passion and energy. We are eager for new developments in technology and outreach as we move forward. Many thanks to all who have helped to get us where we are today and we look forward to what is still to come. Happy New Year from the Connecticut Citizens Defense League!