HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut legislature will vote Friday on the nomination of a Superior Court judge candidate who was bashed by the National Rifle Association earlier this month for her support of a 2013 major gun control law passed in the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting.
Lawmakers are hearing from both gun rights supporters and gun control advocates as they consider the nomination of former state Rep. Auden Grogins.
"Auden Grogins is no friend of the Second Amendment, and who knows how far she would go with her anti-gun rhetoric as a Superior Court judge," the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action said in a statement to Connecticut supporters on Jan. 13, urging them to demand that state lawmakers reject Grogins' nomination.
"She ignored her oath of office as a state representative, does not respect your constitutionally protected freedoms and cannot be trusted to be an unbiased, impartial arbiter of the law," the NRA said.
But the NRA's influence in Connecticut is far less than it is in other states. Legislative leaders expect Grogins' nomination to easily pass the Democrat-controlled General Assembly, as it did on a 30-3 vote by the Judiciary Committee on Jan. 16.
"There's overwhelming support," state Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said about Grogins.
Still, gun control advocates weren't taking any chances. On Monday, Connecticut Against Gun Violence called on residents to ask their state legislators to approve Grogins' nomination and to show up for Friday's vote to counteract the NRA's effort.
"We certainly have generated lots of mail to legislators from their constituents, and we like what we're seeing in terms of the replies we're getting," said Ron Pinciaro, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence.
Grogins, an attorney with a law practice in Fairfield, didn't return messages seeking comment Wednesday.
Nominated by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy earlier this month, Grogins was one of many co-sponsors of the 2013 gun legislation passed four months after 20 first-graders and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. The law imposed sweeping new restrictions on weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines, added more than 100 firearms to the state's assault weapons ban and created what officials called the nation's first dangerous weapon offender registry.
The law sparked rarely seen activism in the state by the NRA and other gun rights groups, which fought the 2013 gun bill and spent more than $280,000 opposing Malloy's re-election in November.
A spokeswoman for the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action didn't return a message Wednesday.