Bob Stefanowski thinks strong gun laws are 'a bad thing.'
Trump-loving businessman Bob Stefanowski is close to pulling off an upset in the Connecticut gubernatorial race. If he defeats Democrat Ned Lamont, it could threaten the lifesaving gun laws passed in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Following the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, the state expanded its assault weapons ban, ended the sale of magazines holding greater than 10 rounds, and instituted background checks for all firearms sales.
Since adopting these laws, the state has seen a significant drop in firearms-related deaths, and Connecticut's laws have been praised as a model for the rest of the nation.
But NRA-endorsed Bob Stefanowski says the laws, which were passed following the murders of 20 6- and 7-year-olds in their classrooms, are unfair.
"I've spent a lot of time ... with gun owners that I think have been persecuted, and I don't think it's fair and I don't think they're the problem," Stefanowski said while pursuing the Republican nomination this summer.
He has also called gun-free zones "a bad thing" and vowed to veto any bills that would further strengthen the state's gun laws.
Since clinching the nomination, Stefanowski has tried to distract Connecticut voters from his radical pro-gun views by focusing instead on his radical tax plan — which he calls "as Republican as it gets."
However, Stefanowski has reportedly told pro-gun activists in private that he would sign a bill to repeal the state's post-Sandy Hook laws if given the opportunity.
Frighteningly, Stefanowski's disregard for gun safety isn't the only danger to Connecticut’s children if he wins.
The Trump-endorsed businessman is also on the record making anti-vaccine comments.
"We shouldn't be dumping a lot of drugs into kids for no reason," Stefanowski told voters at an event held by the Quiet Corner Tea Party when asked if the state should continue to mandate vaccinations for kids in school.
Stefanowski also promised he would consider changing the policy if elected.
"I would look at it," Stefanowski said. "I don't think we should be forcing people to inject a ton of chemicals into their kids but I would want to see more about it."
Even if Stefanowski is just playing to his audience, the comments are dangerous because they promote the baseless idea that "chemicals" in vaccines, which have been extensively tested for safety, might somehow be dangerous.
Unfortunately, it looks like voters can't expect nuanced policy arguments from Stefanowski, who has no political experience and who regularly compares himself to another businessman-turned-politician — Donald Trump.
"You need someone, Trump is a good example of this, who has run things before, who has negotiated," Stefanowski said in a pitch to voters, citing his experience as a CEO. His own website boasts about his "Trumpian" plans.
And just like Trump, Stefanowski's actual record in business raises its own major red flags.
The last company he ran as CEO is actually banned from operating in the state of Connecticut. The company was a payday lender, an industry banned in Connecticut due to its predatory, high-interest loans that frequently target military personnel.
Before that, Stefanowski served on the board of a company connected to drug trials that killed 22 people in India, according to an investigation by Hearst Connecticut Media.
Polls show a tight contest between Stefanowski and Democrat Ned Lamont, thanks to a three-way race with Republican-turned-Independent Oz Griebel, who's siphoning votes from Lamont. One poll actually shows Stefanowski leading Lamont by 2 points.
A Stefanowski victory may seem unthinkable, but many felt the same way about Donald Trump just two years ago. Turning out for Ned Lamont this Tuesday is the only way Connecticut voters can guarantee their children and their state will be safe from Bob Stefanowski's radical Trumpian agenda.