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Report: Conn. Courted Bushmaster Parent Company 8 Days Before Newtown Massacre


"...a low-interest, $1 million loan to move 25 executives and its headquarters to Stamford, Conn."

Candles at a memorial near the Newtown Firehouse, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Eight days before Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle to go on a murderous shooting spree that claimed the lives of 26 people, including 20 children, Bushmaster’s parent company was offered a sweetheart deal to relocate to Connecticut.

“On Dec. 6, Freedom Group, based in Madison, N.C., was offered a low-interest, $1 million loan to move 25 executives and its headquarters to Stamford, Conn.," the New York Daily News reports. "No deal was finalized."

"The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development is pleased to provide this revised letter of intent … in support of the Freedom Group's … $2,250,000 Headquarters project in Stamford, Connecticut," department Deputy Commissioner Ronald F. Angelo Jr. wrote on December 6.

"One of Governor (Dannel) Malloy's top priorities is to create a business-friendly environment that attracts investment, spurs job growth and helps industries become more competitive in the global marketplace," the letter added.

Eight days after this offer was extended, Lanza went on his crazed rampage.

Unsurprisingly, once it was reported that the clearly troubled teen used a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, the deal was nixed, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Hartford Courant.

" ... this letter provides official notice that (the department's) offer of financial assistance, as outlined in our letter of intent dated December 6, 2012, is hereby withdrawn,”Angelo wrote in a letter to Freedom Group four days after the massacre. “The department will not be supporting the Freedom Group's proposed project."

In fact, since the December 14 shootings, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) has loudly called for stricter gun control laws in the state, arguing that the federal ban on so-called "assault weapons" should not have been allowed to expire.

"I think when we talk about the assault weapons ban that was in place in the U.S., to have allowed that to have gone away ...," Malloy said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

"These are assault weapons. You don't hunt deer with these things," he added, attacking the product manufactured by the company his state had so recently courted.

A Sandy Hook memorial. (Getty Images).

Angelo told the Courant that the Newtown slaughter heavily influenced the decision to can the deal.

"It was a significant tragedy that was fresh on everybody's mind," Angelo told the Courant in a telephone interview. "If you take that into account along with the very unknown structure and unknown condition of the Freedom Group because of the (announced) sale of that entity by its parent, it's too much of an unknown, too much of an unpredictable" situation.

It’s worth noting that Connecticut is not exactly squeamish when it comes to firearms.

Indeed, as the NY Daily News reminds us, “Connecticut has a storied history of gun manufacturing, including the iconic Colt brand based in West Hartford.”

“The National Shooting Sports Foundation … is based in Newtown,” the report adds.

Connecticut Gov. Dannell Malloy gives a statement about the shooting during a press conference at Treadwell Memorial Park on Friday in Newtown, Conn. (Photo: Jared Wickerham, Getty Images)

And the people of Newtown, Conn., don’t seem to be shying away from guns either.

“Applications for gun permits have jumped in Newtown since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, which sparked a renewed debate about stricter gun control laws and a surge in gun sales around the country due to worries about new limits,” the Associated Press reports.

“Newtown in recent years has issued about 130 gun permits annually. Police say the town received 79 permit applications in the three months since the Dec. 14 massacre, well over double the normal pace,” the report adds.

"A good percentage of people are making it clear they think their rights are going to be taken away," said Robert Berkins, records manager for Newtown police.


Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image Getty Images.

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