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Political Report: America`s Voters Face Down Bloomberg`s Mayors

Friday, January 22, 2010

America’s Voters Face Down Bloomberg’s Mayors Once again, you deserve congratulations. In a textbook case of grassroots activism, you have convinced dozens of mayors to resign from New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s gun control front group, “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” or MAIG.

Last month’s column chronicled the events that led to the resignation of 40 mayors from the group. Now, you’ve doubled that number to 80--nearly 20 percent of Bloomberg’s membership.

The simple truth is that Bloomberg and his front group simply have no grassroots support. The mayor believes that money and media are the two keys to political success. He has spent untold billions of his personal fortune to win his elections and is well on his way to setting another spending record to be re-elected. To Bloomberg, votes are just another commodity to be bought and sold.

But you and I--and apparently quite a few mayors--understand that’s just not how it works in the rest of our great nation. Political power is built one vote at a time in local communities and precincts. That accounts for the strong reaction we received when we notified NRA members whose mayors were listed as MAIG members and asked those members to contact their mayors in protest.

Many of the mayors our members contacted claimed they had never even joined the group and were surprised to learn they were listed as supporters. Others resigned when they learned the true legislative agenda of MAIG, having been gulled by the group’s claims.

But some mayors felt put upon for having their activities subjected to voter scrutiny. Many of them stubbornly parroted Bloomberg’s deceptive rhetoric. MAIG claims it supports the Second Amendment and opposes only “illegal guns.” What could be wrong with that, asked these mayors.

Here’s what’s wrong with that--it’s a lie. What exactly is an “illegal gun” anyway? All firearms sold at retail in the U.S. market are made by companies that comply with a complex web of regulations. The guns are then sold to distributors, who sell them to dealers. All of these businesses have federal firearm licenses. Every step of the way, every firearm is identified by its unique serial number and its movement is documented in records available to law enforcement. When that firearm is purchased, the buyer is subjected to a background check and the sale is again recorded.

Even if that gun is subsequently stolen or misused in a crime, it still has not become “illegal” in its own right. It may be used illegally, or illegally possessed, but there is no such thing as an “illegal gun.” The term “illegal gun” is another deceptive rhetorical device. It follows a long and consistent strategy of the gun ban groups to coin phrases that sound menacing, but are actually meaningless.

Consider the phrase “guns on our streets.” There’s no street in America that’s literally covered in guns. Guns may be illegally possessed by criminals on the streets, but acknowledging that there’s no crime without a human criminal would get in the way of demonizing the inanimate firearm. The same is true of the phrase “assault weapon.” Just about anything from a broomstick to a banana can be used to commit assault. But this phrase again tries to remove the criminal from the equation, focusing only on the inanimate object.

The truth about MAIG’s attacks on the Second Amendment is clear and it’s a matter of public record. First, MAIG attempted to repeal the privacy protections of the Tiarht amendments. Those amendments specifically make trace data available to law enforcement for bona fide criminal investigations. But MAIG is not interested in law enforcement; it wants unlimited access to the firearm purchase records of citizens who have committed no crime.

MAIG has also lobbied against concealed-carry reciprocity. It’s laughable to argue that law-abiding people with carry permits are remotely “illegal.” But as it stands, New York City is allowed to criminalize the possession of firearms for self-defense by average residents and visitors alike. But while gun possession may be criminalized in the Big Apple, the gun itself is still not “illegal.”

There are many more examples that I don’t have room to list. But at their core, Bloomberg and his cronies are clearly afraid that Congress or the courts may soon rip away their powers to trample the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. We can only hope they’re right--and work to make their nightmare come true.

With the holidays coming and fall hunting seasons well under way, we have much to be thankful for. And to those blessings we can now add the truism that all politics is local. Even with all his billions and the adulation of the media, there is still nothing Bloomberg can do to take away the power of the voter.

For more information, go to NRA-ILA/Mayors

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.