Critics of Gov. Dannel Malloy have taken great pleasure in slapping him around for succeeding in yet another economic endeavor –providing financial incentives to make a Bass Pro Shop the anchor of a major development in Bridgeport. The anti-Malloy forces point out that Bass Pro sells guns. But In fact, bringing in the hunting, fishing and camping giant proves Malloy’s point that he has never tried to ban legitimate hunting weapons. Bass Pro will not be selling guns or ammunition banned in Connecticut.
Similarly, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, long the target of criticism from just about every special interest in the city except the voters, got heat over the Bass Pro deal. Finch is a rare politician—he doesn’t care what the obstacles are, he simply does what’s right for the city and naysayers be damned.
Let there be no doubt, Bass Pro is getting a pretty sweet deal to anchor the Steele Point economic development area, a project that has had more than its fair share of starts and stops. The state bond commission unanimously approved $22 million for the project from which Bass Pro greatly benefits.
Malloy has not shied away from his efforts to create jobs in Connecticut. His “First Five” plan has drawn criticism as has his New Britain to Hartford busway. Republicans strongly opposed the deal to bring Jackson Labs to the state. But Malloy presses on undaunted.
The best anti-Malloy columnist Kevin Rennie could come up with was, “You can`t say that you want less gun violence and at the same time make the people of Connecticut spend tens of millions of dollars to bring a gun seller to Bridgeport.” Um, yes, you can. And in doing so, Malloy is proving his point that hunters and sport shooters can still get their firearms legally in the state and quite conveniently at Bass Pro in Bridgeport when it opens.
The fact is that the state’s investment in Bass Pro is a good one; it will create direct and indirect jobs. And rather than being hypocritical about backing a gun-seller, Malloy is proving that if you follow the state’s strict gun control laws, the state will not only get out of the way, it will help.