The Republican mayor of Danbury, Ct., on Wednesday quit Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns, saying the billionaire former New York City mayor "overwhelms the entire group," reports said.
Mark Boughton, who's also running in a crowded field of GOP candidates in the Connecticut gubernatorial race, told the Connecticut Mirror
that the focus has changed from illegal gun trafficking to broader gun controls.
"It's really become about Bloomberg instead of going after illegal guns," he said. "Mike Bloomberg overwhelms the entire group. I think its mission has been lost."
that his link to the group – Bloomberg has shelled out millions to candidates who support gun control – has riled gun owners.
"The general public sees them as one and the same," Boughton said.
In a statement posted on his campaign website, Boughton played up his support of gun rights, the Mirror reported.
"As a member of the Connecticut General Assembly, I was a strong supporter of the rights of law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen in Connecticut," he said. "This remains my position today."
But his resignation drew immediate howls from Democrats.
"After trying to position himself as a moderate, middle-of-the-road guy, Mark Boughton is now so worried about his political future that he's decided it's time to pander to the NRA," Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo said, the Mirror reported.
The Connecticut Citizens Defense League has opposed Boughton's candidacy, but its president, Scott Wilson, said Wednesday that he's now willing to sit down with Boughton to discuss his views.
“I can’t really read into what’s going on in Mark’s mind. I hope it’s not pandering," he told Connecticut magazine
"I really hope he’s starting to get it, and he’s really listened and had an opportunity to think over what people have been trying to say. Possibly he’s been enlightened somewhat."
Gun control is a major issue in Connecticut
in the wake of the Newtown school massacre, which prompted a strict gun-control law that includes a ban on retail sale in Connecticut of military-style semi-automatic weapons, such as the AR-15.
But Boughton told the Mirror his decision wasn't aimed at impressing gun owners.
"I'm not doing it to move the needle," Boughton said. "At the end of the day, I have a record as it applies to Second Amendment issues."
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