The visits are the most public move in discussions that have been ongoing for some time, officials say. "We've been reaching out to them via letters and the governor's talked on the phone to some of them," Lucy Nashed, the governor's spokeswoman, told the Connecticut Post. "This is something he's been doing for a long time – talking to companies in different states."
Forcing the issue are sweeping gun-control measures passed first by New York then by Connecticut in response to the Sandy Hook shootings. When Connecticut lawmakers were considering the bills in March, Colt shut down manufacturing for a day and bused 400 workers to the statehouse in a show of force. Other manufacturers did the same.
“We exhausted ourselves testifying during public sessions at the state capital, reaching out to journalists, busing our employees to Hartford and more, but in the end it didn’t matter. They wrote the bill in secret,” Mark Malkowski, president of Stag Arms in New Britain, Conn., told Forbes.
The tone of Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) has frayed the state's relationship with gunmakers further. Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union" after he signed the bill, Governor Malloy said: "What this is about is the ability of the gun industry to sell as many guns to as many people as possible – even if they are deranged, even if they are mentally ill, even if they have a criminal background. They don’t care. They want to sell guns.”