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Ready, aim, leave

Published April 15. 2013 4:00AM

As breakups go this is an ugly one. We refer to the split between Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the state's firearm manufacturers. In the lead up to passage of the state's new tough gun-control law, Gov. Malloy said that though he wanted to broaden the state's ban on semiautomatic assault rifles and take other steps to limit access to weapons and ammunition, he also wanted to keep gun manufacturers in the state.

But a governor does not endear himself to an industry by outlawing best-selling products. And after the law passed the reaction was predictable. Gun manufacturers, who have a long history in Connecticut, expressed their disappointment and began announcing plans to relocate from the state, or issued threats to do so.

Asked on CNN about the reaction of gun manufacturers, Gov. Malloy did not exactly try to patch things up.

"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," Gov. Malloy said.

The comment was impolitic, certainly, but we can't say it wasn't true. The industry has joined the NRA in trying to block even the reasonable step of universal background checks.

The Hartford Courant reported Friday that gun manufacturer Stag Arms of New Britain is trying to find a redesign loophole in Connecticut's new ban so that it could produce an AR-15 type rifle it can sell here.

That's ingenuity, we suppose, but hardly in keeping with the spirit of the law.

As the governor said, they want to sell guns. But society would be better off if they could only sell some of those guns - the ones designed to kill a large number of people in quick fashion - to the military and police.

That is why Connecticut did the right thing in passing the assault weapons' ban, even if it risks some gun manufacturers taking their businesses elsewhere.

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