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NRA takes aim on mayor's group supporting more gun control

By Bill Cotterell • Florida Capital Bureau Political Editor • September 26, 2009

Naples Mayor Bill Barnett expected a hard recoil when he joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, but the fusillade of angry mail and phone calls startled him.

"We've been absolutely bombed with protest," he said. "I'm not a radical and I don't get involved in a lot of causes, but I joined this group because it seems like a reasonable organization."
The National Rifle Association has taken aim at the coalition of some 450 mayors -- 45 of them in Florida -- alerting gun owners that the group will lobby Congress to end "reciprocity" among states that issue concealed-weapons permits, tighten restrictions on sales at weekend gun shows and weaken privacy protections for gun owners.

Former NRA President Marion Hammer, one of the most influential lobbyists in Tallahassee, said the mayor's group really wants to spread New York-style gun control far and wide.

In addition to Barnett, mayors in Miami, Tallahassee, Jacksonville,Fort Myers, Tampa and Palm Shores are among the geographically disparate and population-ranging city leaders to sign on to the group.

"This is what we like to call a 'soft front' to hide what they're really doing," she said. "Everybody is against illegal guns. The NRA is the one organization that has worked for years to stop people from using legal guns illegally -- that's called 'criminal activity,' by the way. Our big thing is to punish people who use guns illegally and leave legal gun owners alone."

Barnett assembled a 22-page packet of information, including the "statement of principles" he signed with MAIG, news articles and statements of support by some of the 450 mayors from Portland, Me., to Honolulu who have joined MAIG.

The principles include enforcement of maximum penalties for gun-related crimes, support for laws against "straw purchasers" who buy guns in states with few restrictions and resell them in big cities and support for federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms efforts to trace weapons.

"I give them the information and tell them if they want to come talk to me, I'll be glad to discuss it," said Barrett. "It's not anything like the NRA has been telling them."

A Sept. 10 "alert" from Hammer's state unit, Unified Sportsmen of Florida, listed 45 Florida mayors who joined the national group founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Tom Menino. Seven Florida mayors had dropped out, USF said.

"I've been getting some calls and messages but not what I'd call a ton of them," said Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, who said he has no intention of taking his name off the list.

"The three things to remember are, it's designed to keep criminals from having illegal guns, there's no intent whatsoever to deny or infringe on any law-abiding citizen's Second Amendment rights and we want to do everything we can to assist law enforcement," said Marks. "That's all there is to it."

Jason Post, a Bloomberg aide assigned to work with the gun coalition in New York, said the mayors are lobbying Congress, not trying to change state or municipal laws. He said they want background checks done at gun shows, just like they are done in retail stores, and that "each state should respect the other states" by not making states that ban concealed weapons honor licenses from states that allow them.

"We've lost some mayors and gained some," he said. "We're about treading water at 450."

Hammer said many mayors signed on with MAIG at League of Cities meetings or other conferences, when public safety and law enforcement was discussed. But she said others fully agreed with the New York and Boston mayors.

"You've got a number of mayors who are just as anti-gun as the day is long," she said. "If it's got anything to do with guns, they'll join anything and everything and allow their names to be used in that manner."

Here are the Florida cities whose mayors signed on with Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

Aventura, Bowling Green, Cooper City, Coral Springs, Doral, El Portal, Fernandina Beach, Fort Myers, Greenwood, Hallandale Beach, Haverhill, Hollywood, Hypoluxo, Jacksonville, Kenneth City, Keystone Heights, Largo, Lauderdale, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Lauderhill, Malone, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, Naples, Neptune Beach, Newberry, Niceville, North Miami, North Miami Beach, North Palm Beach, Oak Hill, Opa Locka, Orlando, Ormond Beach, Pembroke Park, Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach, Port St. Lucie, Tallahassee, Tamarac, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Windermere, Winter Park.

Here are the cities whose mayors rescinded their membership in the organization:
Boynton, Dundee, Madeira Beach, Key West, Palm Shores, Tarpon Springs, Winter Springs.
(Source: Unified Sportsmen of Florida) ... un+control

4,092 Posts

Another attack by the fear-mongering republican controlled fascist NRA on the peace-loving common sense gun control MAIG!

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