Founded and funded by rabidly anti-gun billionaire and failed Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, the deceptively named Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) was created in 2006 to lobby for gun control, including increased restrictions and bans on completely legal firearms.
Among its activities, the group continues to highlight a misguided “No More Names Bus Tour” (2013), which fails to mention that organizers included, among the “victims of gun violence” meant to be memorialized, criminals like the terrorist Boston Marathon bomber.
The group’s real claim to fame, though, is how often its gun-grabbing members are caught engaging in criminal behavior, including firearm-related offenses. In 2013, the New York Post’s editorial board ran an exposé titled “Illegal Mayors Against Guns,” wisecracking that “MAIG needs tougher screening – or a more accurate name.”
At that time, one estimate was that “at least 16 members … were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, assorted crimes that include embezzlement, perjury, bribery, extortion, fraud, money laundering, attempted child molestation and child pornography. Another eight [were] facing various criminal charges including DUI, assaulting a police officer, accepting bribes, wire fraud, money laundering and furnishing a minor with alcohol.” Four years later, another slew of current or former MAIG members were facing charges arising from, or had pled guilty to, various kinds of criminal misconduct, including federal felonies.
Although the MAIG website has a page devoted to “Coalition Members in the News,” readers will search the entries in vain for the details about these rogue politicians.
The latest MAIG member alleged to have run afoul of the law is Lovely Warren, the Democrat mayor of Rochester, New York. Last October, Ms. Warren was indicted on felony campaign finance charges, including a first-degree scheme to defraud. This month, the mayor’s husband, Timothy Granison, was accused of being part of a “cocaine trafficking ring” and faces charges of criminal firearm possession and criminal possession of controlled substances. This follows a police raid on the family home that uncovered illicit drugs, a semiautomatic rifle and a loaded, unregistered handgun. Charges, of course, are simply accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt, and every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Ms. Warren has denied owning the drugs or the guns and not been charged in relation to the trafficking investigation. However, news reports indicate that Mr. Granison is a convicted felon, which would question his ability to lawfully possess firearms under federal and state law. Sandra Doorley, the local district attorney, has refused to rule out additional charges, including counts relating to possession of the rifle.
It is an uncomfortable fact that not long ago, Ms. Warren called for taking “illegal guns” off the streets and focusing on “bringing these people to justice that are picking up these weapons,” with the city coordinating with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to curtail gun crimes. In a similar vein, every mayor who joins MAIG is asked to sign a “Statement of Principles” that includes (besides the standard demands for things like more background checks, red flag and storage laws), a commitment “to promote the enforcement of existing gun laws that have swift and certain consequences,” and “encourage police to trace all suspected crime guns to identify the sources of firearms, to develop leads, and to identify potential traffickers.”
Another MAIG partner in the news is David Chipman, President Biden’s nominee to lead the ATF, who was previously employed as a “senior policy advisor” for MAIG. During his Senate confirmation hearing, Mr. Chipman was questioned about enforcing federal firearm laws in relation to allegations that Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, had lied on the federal paperwork related to a gun purchase.
If the past is any indication, it’s apparent that another concern (should Mr. Chipman be confirmed) is the likelihood of many awkward future interactions with the public officials associated with his former employer.
In the meantime (to endorse the recommendation of the Post’s editorial board), perhaps MAIG should swallow a big spoonful of the same medicine it continually presses on others, and require its new and existing members to pass a criminal background check.