Online Open-Carry Gun Conversation Stirs Anti-Gun Activist/Author Shannon Watts to Use The Town of Bethel as Example of Gun Violence in America in Darien CT Speech

Report by Paulas Antolini, September 28, 2019, 11:19AM EDT

NOTE: This is a follow up to our article, “Bethel’s Byrd’s Books Holds Event to Promote Controversial Topic Regarding ‘Moms Demand Action’ Gun-Control & Anti-NRA Activist’s Book, But Has No Plans for Gun-Rights Supporters Events” about gun-control activist/author Shannon Watts and Bethel’s Byrd’s Books event promoting Watts’ book.

How far will individuals go to push their anti-gun crusade?

Gun control activist/author Shannon Watts, who recently participated in a book signing event at Bethel’s Byrd’s Books on September 19, 2019, decided to use the Town of Bethel as an example of gun violence in America in her speech to the Darien chapter of the League of Women Voters (120 people) at a gathering previous to the book store event on the same day, in Darien, CT, making Bethel sound as dangerous as the Wild West.

Are gun control activist/author Shannon Watts and Byrd’s Books store manager Steve Hutchinson spreading exaggerated or false messages about Bethel to promote Watt’s book and their Democratic anti-gun causes? How did Watts know about a conversation in a Bethel online forum? Good question.

Recently an article was featured on September 25, 2019 in the Darien Times entitled “Moms Demand Action founder speaks on gun violence prevention.” The article promoted book author and anti-gun activist Shannon Watts and discussed her recent speech at the Darien’s Wee Burn Country Club, which took place on September 19, 2019. The article includes information about an alleged “threat” Bethel’s Byrd’s Books’ store manager says they were aware of regarding the same date Watts appeared at the Bethel store book-signing event that evening. The speech was given at Darien’s Wee Burn Country Club earlier that day and included an audience of 120 individuals from the Darien chapter of the League of Women Voters.

The Darien Times article reads, “News on the gun control debate appears to be taking place moment to moment, since on the very day Watts spoke, two events occurred: The first, which took place during Watts’ talk in Darien, was that gun manufacturer Colt announced it will stop producing AR-15 rifles for consumers. Second, when Watts spoke at a book signing at Byrd’s Books in Bethel later that evening, additional security was on hand, as a result of a threat made by a local resident in support of carrying guns.

Bethel’s Byrd’s Books store manager, Steve Hutchinson, was quoted as saying, “There were local folks who had made vague, non-direct threats through a Facebook post, where they could have come and caused trouble” We had to ask the local PD to check in on us.”

The Darien Times article reads, “The threat said that gun rights activists should open carry on the sidewalk, according to Hutchinson.” “Despite the post, there was no incident at the event.”

According to Bethel Police Captain Stephen Pugner, who we spoke to in person, the Bethel Police Department did not receive any phone calls from Byrd’s Books owner Alice Hutchinson or manager Steve Hutchinson regarding a threat and no police report was filed by them. Pugner said only a routine call was received from a public relations person of the author Shannon Watts, previous to the event at Byrd’s Books, to inform the police an event would be taking place concerning the particular topic of her book. No threat was mentioned. Bethel Police were not called to Byrd’s Books on September 19, 2019, Pugner said, and no patrols were done other than normal ones in Bethel, that night.

Attempts to contact Byrd’s Books owner Alice Hutchinson or manager Steve Hutchinson went unanswered, concerning our inquiry to them this week to clarify exactly what the words were of the “threat” or if and when security was hired, and by whom, and if the security was armed, to cover the store event on Sept. 19th.

If a “threat” was enough to possibly concern the store manager and/or owner, why weren’t Bethel Police informed? Yet, Steve Hutchinson talked to an out-of-town news source about the “threat.” Author/activist Shannon Watts used the alleged Bethel “threat” as an example of gun violence in the country, in her speech, putting Bethel in a bad light and making it seem like Bethel is the Wild West, before she truly realized the actual facts.

According to the Darien Times, “Watts shared many words of advice at the League of Women Voters talk, including that it’s not necessary to know everything about a topic before taking action.”

Shannon Watts could not be reached for comment.



Apparently this entire issue is about an online conversation about “open-carry” that took place by several individuals, previous to the two events, on a local Facebook forum.

We will not reveal names, however, we have seen the text in a thread which appears to have been entirely deleted now, and we have spoken to two of the individuals since. Apparently, several individuals held a conversation which included comments about the legality of being able to open-carry on a public sidewalk, NOT that they were planning a protest at all. They also discussed that it is the business owner’s right to decide if they will allow open carry inside their premises, and that it is the CT State law too.

One of the individuals stated, “People are so anti-gun and have no clue that CT is an open-carry state.”

We do not know if the “additional security” that was maybe or maybe not “on hand” (as mentioned in the Darien Times article) was armed or not, or if that referred to privately hired security, but we think it is ironic that they called men with guns to protect an event promoting an anti-gun agenda, that wants to take away all the guns.


Who is Shannon Watts?

Watts’ bio in her book description promotions describe her as an Indiana stay-at-home mom of five, former communications executive, “the founder of ‘Moms Demand Action‘ and a gun-control & anti-NRA activist, author of Fight Like a Mother – How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Why Women Will Change the World.” Watts also wrote the forward to “Girl Activist (Generation Girl) – July 16, 2019 /Simon & Schuster.:

On April 20, 2016 it was announced Watts had joined Emerge America, the nation’s leading organization for recruiting and training women to run for office, who appointed Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action on Gun Sense in America, to its national board of directors. “My organization’s work to demand reasonable gun reforms from legislators and Emerge America’s mission to get more Democratic women elected to office are a match made in heaven,” said Watts. “Emerge’s training program already includes the Democratic Party platform, which includes common-sense firearm policies.”



We also suggest you read the entire June 23, 2016 article in the Washington Post entitled, NPR issues large correction about stay-at-home mom/gun-control activist.

The article reads, “On June 17, NPR’s Chris Arnold turned in a seven-minute feature story on the evolution of a “powerful new gun control group,” Everytown for Gun Safety. The organization is the result of a merger between Mayors Against Illegal Guns — founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, among other mayors — and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group launched by Shannon Watts in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre. Just who is Shannon Watts? That’s where the controversy seeped into an otherwise fine story.

In the NPR feature story referred to in the Washington Post article, it says Arnold originally portrayed Watts this way:

“Much of the groundswell behind this crusade comes from just regular people pulled into it for their own reasons. For a woman named Shannon Watts, she was drawn in by another mass shooting — the murder of 20 schoolchildren 6- and 7-year-olds in Newtown, Connecticut. Watts wasn’t there: She lived 800 miles away in Zionsville, Indiana. She was folding her kids’ laundry, actually, when the news broke. And she wanted to do something. ‘I was obviously devastated but I was also angry and I went online and I thought, ‘Surely there is a Mothers Against Drunk Driving for gun safety.’ And I couldn’t find anything. Watts had never done anything political before but she made a Facebook page and she called it One Million Moms for Gun Control [now Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America].”

Chris Arnold’s story on NPR entitled, A Million-Mom Army And A Billionaire Take On The NRA was eventually corrected with the following statement on June 21, 2016 with update on June 23, 2019:

“This story has been edited to reflect the information in this correction. This report previously referred to Shannon Watts as one in a group of “regular people” who began advocating for stricter gun control measures in recent years. After the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., she created the “One Million Moms for Gun Control” Facebook page. It later became “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.” We should have noted that Watts has a background in corporate communications. From 1998 to mid-2012, she was a corporate communications executive or consultant at such companies as Monsanto and FleishmanHillard. Before that, Watts had what she says was a nonpolitical job as a public affairs officer in the Missouri state government.

“Our report also stated that Watts had never “done anything political” before the shootings at Sandy Hook. We should have noted that Federal Election Commission records show she began contributing money to Democratic campaigns and political action committees earlier in 2012. According to those records, she has made about $10,000 in such contributions, and about one-third were made before the Sandy Hook shootings.



In another November 6, 2018 in Natural News entitled, “Same “mom” trying to take away gun rights also promoted toxic cancer-causing glyphosate herbicide in children’s breakfast cereals, it reads, “Why would anyone get behind that same “mom” who worked for Monsanto, who promoted cancer-causing herbicide in children’s breakfast cereals?”

The Natural News article reads, Shannon Watts protected Monsanto as they hid glyphosate’s carcinogenicity. Before she took up the mantle to take away gun rights, Shannon Watts worked for Monsanto and promoted glyphosate. From 1998 to 2001, Watts directed a team that managed crises for Monsanto and Bayer. The most current crisis for Monsanto is their court loss in California, a $290 million case that confirmed that Monsanto’s glyphosate-containing products cause cancer — and the corporation hid the fact for years. After defending Monsanto for three years, Watts was promoted to Director, Global Public and Corporate Affairs Company for Monsanto. Watts “provided corporate communications strategy and support” in support of Monsanto’s agricultural life sciences. The lawsuit found that Monsanto hid the cancer risks of glyphosate during the time Shannon Watts was defending Monsanto.

The same info. appears in a November 8, 2018 article in DC Dirty Laundry entitled, “Concerned Mom? Or Political Mercenary? Anti-Gun “Mom” Shannon Watts also promoted toxic cancer-causing glyphosate herbicide found in kid’s breakfast cereals, that says, “Trying to appear as a heroic mom, Watts claims she was a stay-at-home mother during her tenure defending Monsanto. Glyphosate, found at unprecedented levels in children’s breakfast cereals, is a known carcinogen. If Watts cares about the children, then why does she want them more vulnerable in schools and why does she not care about their health?


Editor note:

Whomever Shannon Watts is, or says she is, NO ONE has permission to depict the Town of Bethel as full of dangerous gun-toting individuals by using exaggerated inaccurate information. We have concealed-carry, open-carry and no-carry individuals here, legal in Connecticut, and legal to discuss in Connecticut, and we all live in safe harmony.

We expect an huge apology from you, Shannon Watts. You are doing nothing but fear mongering and your attempt to ruin the reputation of our wonderful Town of Bethel is most unacceptable. Please also issue a correction statement to the Darien Times and the Darien chapter of the League of Women Voters to whom you spoke.

Go ahead, we’re waiting.


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