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Hundreds protest gun control legislation

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NEWINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

Gun stores across Connecticut were packed Wednesday in anticipation of new gun control laws going into immediate effect.

"We saw that the gun shops were absolutely flooded with people," said Jake McGuigan of National Shooting Sports Foundation.

One of those stores was Newington Gun Exchange, which saw a steady stream of customers, including police officers and troopers.

"I don't agree with them, but I made my moves today to overcome that," said Sal Paladino of Danbury.

Hoffman's and BMG Guns and Ammo on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington were crowded with long lines of gun owners.

"Because today will be the last day I can purchase one,"  Paladino said about buying a Colt AR-15, which he said is for target shooting on weekends.

Timothy McFee left Hoffman's on Wednesday with a new SR40, which is a handgun. 

"I know they're coming in with some tough new laws, so I wanted to get it out of the way before I have to go through all the paperwork etc.," he said. "Got something small, don't really carry big guns at all."

Hundreds gathered at the state Capitol in Hartford Wednesday to let lawmakers know they were not happy with the proposed legislation.

"I believe the law-abiding gun owners in this state are being stigmatized," said Vietnam veteran Douglas Porschen.

Early Wednesday morning, people, mostly gun owners, boarded buses at the parking lot outside Cabella's sporting goods in East Hartford and headed to Hartford.

"It's unconstitutional," said Joshua Go of Montville. "This state is having me consider leaving because my Second Amendment rights are being infringed upon."

The Second Amendment supporters were armed with handmade signs to speak in favor of their right to bear arms.

"It's the beginning of the fight and it's ridiculous," said Robert Allen of Stratford. "This isn't going to stop criminals from doing what they do."

The gun rights advocates stood united both inside and out of the Capitol as lawmakers debated over "arguably the most comprehensive package in the country" in response to the Newtown tragedy where 20 children and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14.

"We're taking a hit for a very tragic situation," Porschen said. "And the governor and many in the legislature don't give a darn. They're ramming this down our throats."

Allen told Eyewitness News that two of his friends and his baby brother were murdered by men who should not have had access to guns.

"The guy that shot him had an illegally obtained gun because the guy was a felon, do you think any of these laws here will stop this? Wrong answer," Allen said. "They're totally useless, quote me in full."

Extra members of the Connecticut State Capitol Police helped keep the crowds under control.

Gun manufacturers made their presence felt and told Eyewitness News that they are worried about the impact that the new legislative measures could have on their businesses.

Jonathan Scalise of Ammunition Storage Components in New Britain said he was contacted by four employees Wednesday asking if they would still have jobs Thursday. 

"I couldn't tell them," he said.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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