Responding to criticism from the National Rifle Association over Connecticut's new gun laws, Gov. Dan Malloy argued the pro-gun group's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, is simply blowing smoke.
"Wayne reminds me of the clowns at the circus - they get the most attention. That's what he's paid to do," Malloy said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
The Democratic governor on Thursday signed into law some of the nation's strictest gun regulations, following the state's devastating school shooting in December in Newtown, which left 20 children and six adults dead.
The new Connecticut laws include the addition of more than 100 weapons to the state's list of banned assault weapons - including the semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle, one of the firearms used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. The law also bans the sale of magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition, as well as armor-piercing bullets. Buyers will need a certificate to buy ammunition.
It also requires background checks for all gun purchases.
LaPierre said this week that the only people who will follow the new regulations are law-abiding gun owners, not criminals.
"I think the problem with what Connecticut did is the criminals, the drug dealers, the people that are going to do horror and terror, they aren't going to cooperate," LaPierre said on Fox News. "I mean, all you're doing is making the lawbooks bigger for the law-abiding people."
Asked who will be most affected by the new laws, Malloy said they'll be "probably a little tougher on everybody."
"This guy is so out of whack, it's unbelievable," Malloy told CNN's chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley, referring to LaPierre.
Connecticut became the third state to pass tough measures since the December rampage in Newtown. New York and Colorado passed gun control legislation limiting magazine capacity, among other provisions.
Malloy pointed to the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans favor the idea of more background checks, a proposal found in legislation currently sitting before the U.S. Senate. The NRA, however, opposes that bill.
"I can't get on a plane, as the governor of the state of Connecticut, without somebody running a background check on me. Why should you be able to buy a gun? Or buy armor-piercing munitions? It doesn't make any sense. He doesn't make any sense," he said.
Another controversial measure in the Connecticut law is the requirement to register pre-existing magazines that hold more rounds than the new limit. Malloy said the registry was needed so that there are no new high-capacity magazines in Connecticut, and so law enforcement can tell the difference between the ones that already existed in the state and the new ones.
"If you bring a magazine that you purchased in another state into our state, it's illegal. Period," he said.
The NRA last week released detailed recommendations for its proposal to train and arm adults to keep watch in schools as a way to protect kids from shooters. It also had proposals for mental health programs.
Asked if there was anything in the NRA plan that he agreed with, Malloy said "precious little," adding that schools need tougher protection barriers from intruders - but not necessarily armed guards.
"What this is about is the ability of the gun industry to sell as many guns to as many people as possible - even if they're deranged, mentally ill, a criminal background, they don't care. They want to sell guns," Malloy argued.