(Watch) Sen. Miner asks Gov. Lamont for executive order to allow guns in Connecticut state parks following bear attack | News 8

October 24, 2022

Story as published by News 8:


MORRIS, Conn. (WTNH) — A Connecticut state senator is urging Gov. Ned Lamont to sign an executive order that would allow hikers to carry guns in state parks following a black bear attack over the weekend.


“I can tell you, there are times when they don’t go away,” Sen. Craig Miner (R-District 30). “They just won’t go away.”


A 250-pound black bear was euthanized Sunday after attacking a 10-year-old boy in Morris. The boy was playing in his grandparents’ backyard when the male bear attacked him.


The boy was treated at a hospital for cuts to his legs, back and foot. The bear was euthanized. Miner, who represents Morris at the state legislature, said that what happened isn’t unexpected.


“This time of year, it’s all about calories, it’s all about being able to consume enough calories to gain enough weight to go into hibernation,” he said.


The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection told News 8 that the agency supports legislative action that would allow for a limited bear hunt, along with legislation that would allow killing bears that cause agricultural damage.


Bills at the state level have proposed banning intentionally feeding bears. None have advanced to the governor’s desk for a signature.


Miner wants Lamont to sign an executive law that would let people in state parks and designated bow hunting areas carry legally registered handguns in case they are attacked by a bear.


But that decision, Lamont’s office said, is out of their hands.


“Governor Lamont does not have the legal authority to issue this executive order,” Anthony Anthony, a spokesperson for Lamont, said. “It would take an act of the legislature to change the law and make Senator Miner’s request possible.”


Miner said the state has an overpopulation of bears, and that residents are frustrated and afraid.


“They’ve trashed people’s houses,” he said. “They’ve killed people’s livestock. They’ve killed their pets.” A PETA spokesperson told News 8 that legalizing killing bears is not the answer.


“There are circumstances in which we must aggressively defend ourselves, whether against a bear or a human, but this unusual incident is no more an excuse for trigger-happy hunters to run around gunning down bears than for vigilantes to start shooting any human they see after a mugging,” Catie Cryar said. “The best defense is prevention, and PETA joins state officials in encouraging everyone to remove any food that attracts bears, secure their garbage bins, and never leave bird feeders or dog or cat food outdoors.”