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(NECN: Brian Burnell, Hartford, Conn.) - It was three months ago that Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. As the call for tougher gun restrictions has risen, there have been rallies outside and lobbying inside the capitol.
On this day, though, the cry was not "save our guns"; it was "save our jobs". Eleven busses carrying men and women who work for gun makers in the state came here so they could tell legislators they fear losing their jobs if tougher laws are passed. The National Rifle Association seems to agree with that.
John Kopperand is with the NRA.
"You're going see, possibly, companies leave the state and with the companies you're probably going to see people that work at those companies so it is a concern.”
A cynic would say that's trying to change the debate from gun control to jobs.
“I don't think I mentioned jobs maybe one time when I testified," responds Kopperand.
Some gun manufacturers have expressed concern that their companies could go out of business in the face of tougher gun laws. Governor Dannel Malloy, who favors a tougher assault weapons ban and a ban on high capacity magazines, rejects that.
"They won't go under based on our state's action alone. I don't want them to leave. As long as they are manufacturing a product that can be legally consumed and purchased in the nation they are welcome to stay in our state."
Gun control advocates see this talk of jobs as a tactic.
Ron Pinciaro heads CT Against Gun Violence. He was asked if he thinks there's an element of ‘if you can't win the argument, change the argument’ going on here?
“Absolutely. Or delay the argument."
There are 17 separate bills related to gun control and there's work being done on mental health and school safety so this debate is far from over. The thing is officials have all but promised that something will get done this session and the clock is ticking.