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"Mayors Against Illegal Guns"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Michael Bloomberg and Thomas Menino, two of the most virulently anti-gun politicians in America, were the creators of “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” (MAIG) and they are still the driving force behind the group. But do not be fooled by the name: this group would be better named Mayors Against Guns.MAIG has built its membership by selling itself as a group solely interested if fighting “illegal” guns, but a look at its agenda shows that fighting criminals is not what this group is about.Instead, MAIG has focused its efforts on the promotion of new gun laws and regulations and on furthering its anti-gun agenda in the courts. It favors imposing regulations on gun shows that could put them out of existence. It supports repealing the Tiahrt amendment, which keeps law enforcement data confidential, and opposes the right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves. It is now strongly supporting the use of a secret government list to deny people their Second Amendment rights. All of these positions promote new burdens on law-abiding gun owners and threaten Second Amendment rights.

Targeting Law Enforcement Data

From its inception, one of MAIG’s top priorities has been eliminating the Tiahrt amendment, which protects law enforcement safety and the privacy of gun owners and stops the improper use of sensitive gun trace data in civil lawsuits. MAIG claims it opposes Tiahrt because the amendment ties the hands of law enforcement to investigate illegal gun sales, but that is a smokescreen. Tiahrt does not prevent law enforcement from using firearms trace data in criminal investigations. What Tiahrt does prevent is data abuse in lawsuits such as the ones brought by cities like New York, Boston and Chicago, whose mayors are all part of MAIG. These bogus lawsuits were an abuse of our judicial system and served simply as an attempt to either bankrupt gun makers or force them to submit to regulations on guns that legislatures refused to enact. Civil lawsuits against gun makers and gun sellers are the real reasons Bloomberg made the Tiarht amendment the top priority for MAIG.

The Fraternal Order of Police has rejected the claims made by MAIG and strongly supports the preservation of the Tiahrt amendment. FOP President Chuck Canterbury strongly refuted the claims made by MAIG when he wrote that, “the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has always supported language protecting firearm trace data, now known as the Tiahrt Amendment. For the men and women in uniform who are fighting illegal guns, it is a matter of officer safety and good police work.” You can read the rest of Canterbury’s column here. Click here for more information on the Tiahrt amendment.

Targeting Gun Shows

MAIG supports new restrictions and regulations on gun shows that could drive them out of existence. These regulations are directly aimed at private transfers of firearms between law-abiding people and family members. A Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder must conduct a background check on every firearm sold, regardless of the venue. The vast majority of firearms sold at gun shows are sold by licensed dealers. In fact, DOJ reports that less than 2 percent of firearms used by criminals come from gun shows. Federal law allows for law-abiding persons to sell a firearm to another law-abiding resident from their state. The effort to restrict these sales at gun shows is a veiled first step to outlawing all private transfers between law-abiding people, whether they occur at a gun show or between family and friends. Click here for more information on gun shows.

Denying Rights By Secret Information

MAIG has strongly pushed for legislation to prohibit any person listed on the secret “terror watch list” from buying a firearm. This is a serious threat to Second Amendment rights. The “terror watch list” was created as a security tool. It has secret standards for placing a name on the list and no mechanism for removing a name from the list. In almost all cases, a person has no idea he or she is included on the list.

The Transportation Security Agency maintains the “no-fly” list in a similar manner as the “terror watch list.” That list has contained many people who should not have been listed, including the late Senator Ted Kennedy. A secret government list should never be used to deny a person his or her constitutional rights. Click here for more information on the "terror watch list."

Opposing Self-Defense For Travelers

MAIG has opposed the right to self-defense for law-abiding citizens by opposing interstate reciprocity for carry permit holders. There is nothing about this issue that deals with “illegal” guns. MAIG’s opposition to the rights of law-abiding carry permit holders—persons who have submitted to additional training and background checks—proves that MAIG is not targeting “illegal guns”, but is simply opposed to law-abiding people carrying firearms for self-defense, currently allowed in 48 states. The right to self-defense does not end when one crosses a state boundary. The Thune amendment on interstate carry would have simply allowed law-abiding people who have concealed carry permits to exercise their rights in other states that also have carry permit laws. MAIG’s opposition was based on scare tactics and misinformation about where people would be allowed to carry.Click here for more information on Right-to-Carry reciprocity.

Targeting Legal Transport of Firearms

MAIG has announced opposition to an amendment, sponsored by Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), which would require Amtrak to accept firearms in checked baggage, as commercial airlines do. The amendment passed the Senate by the overwhelming margin of 68-30. Even the Brady Campaign has announced it will not oppose this amendment. MAIG’s rationale for opposing this amendment is to cite the Madrid railway bombing of a few years ago, and claim the ban must be maintained to fight terrorism. In MAIG`s view, legal gun owners should be treated as if they pose the same risk as terrorists, and locked, unloaded firearms should be treated as if they are terrorists’ bombs. No issue more clearly demonstrates that MAIG’s opposition is to legal firearms, and has nothing to do with illegal guns. Click here for more information on the Wicker amendment.

Opposing Needed BATFE Reform

MAIG has fought against bills to reform Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) operations. These bills are designed to protect the rights of federally licensed dealers and set standards for regulation and enforcement activities. These reforms are needed to end BATFE abuses and harassment of firearms dealers, as well as to establish clear guidelines for violations and penalties and to create a fair appeals process. MAIG’s opposition to this legislation seems designed to encourage continued harassment of firearms dealers.

Targeting Legal, Not “Illegal” Guns

MAIG claims to be fighting only “illegal” guns, but its agenda does not include a single item that is directly aimed at criminals or illegal guns. Instead, its agenda is a direct attack on law-abiding gun owners and is designed to increase restrictions on those who choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

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