SOUTHINGTON - The Connecticut Citizens Defense League has canceled its annual meeting and dinner at the Aqua Turf Club next year after the venue announced it will no longer host National Rifle Association events.
The following statement, signed by CCDL President Scott Wilson was released Friday morning:
“Dear Aqua Turf Club,
“The Connecticut Citizens Defense League has been pleased to host our Anniversary Dinner at your location for the past several years. The Aqua Turf Club has been a premier venue for organizations such as ours, including sportsmen’s functions and other similar fundraisers.
“However, we are tremendously disappointed in the Aqua Turf’s statement released yesterday that the Friends of the NRA would no longer be welcome after a 25 year relationship. While we understand that the Aqua Turf received pressure from outside entities, we cannot continue to patronize the Aqua Turf now that your company has publicly taken a political stance in stark contrast to our own.
“We stand in solidarity with the Friends of the NRA and, therefore, request to terminate our agreement with the Aqua Turf for the February 9th, 2019, event. Additionally, we will not be submitting the already drafted February 15th 2020 agreement.”
Wilson previously said that he felt it was “very unfortunate” that the Aqua Turf Club had been pressured into taking a political stance when the venue has a history of hosting groups on both sides of the political divide.
“This whole thing was instigated by a group of people who simply put do not want American citizens to have guns,” he said.
The Aqua Turf was protested this March by the anti-gun Newtown Action Alliance because it had hosted an NRA fundraiser on March 23, the same day as the “March for Our Lives” protest in Washington. However, the fundraiser had been scheduled a year in advance by the NRA.
“Holding a fundraiser to raise money for this group basically is funding the ability for dangerous people to harm our children and families and the nation,” said Po Murray of Newtown Action Alliance according to a report on WFSB-TV. “After the most horrific tragedy that occurred in this nation, we need corporations and businesses to distance themselves from the NRA.”
Wilson said that even if he still wanted to have the dinner at the Aqua Turf Club, CCDL members wouldn’t attend.
“Gun owners do not want to support venues who won’t stand up to bullies from the other side,” he said.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.