SOUTHINGTON — The Connecticut Citizens Defense League has canceled its 10th anniversary dinner next year at the Aqua Turf following the venue’s cancellation of a Friends of the NRA fundraiser.
“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,” said the letter, signed by CCDL President Scott Wilson and Event Coordinator Holly Sullivan.
“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,” the letter continued. The Aqua Turf canceled the Friends of the NRA fundraiser following criticism from proponents of gun regulation in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
An Aqua Turf manager could not be reached for comment Friday night.
The league also notified the Aqua Turf that it will not be submitting an already drafted agreement for an event in 2020. Its website defines itself as an “organization advocating for the right to keep and bear arms in Connecticut” with 30,000 members statewide.
The Aqua Turf canceled the Friends of the NRA fundraiser after 20 years of hosting the event, which included gun raffles. The organization is separate from the NRA’s political branch, the NRA Political Victory Fund, and cannot lobby.
“We raise money for firearms safety training and education,” said Michele McBrien, co-chairwoman of the Friends of the NRA Charter Oak chapter. “That’s what you want when it comes to firearms you want safety, you want education.”