By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.
Mayor of Lewiston
Regular readers of this column know full well that I am one of the over 550 members of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) organization who supports good and reasonable gun legislation to protect the public, as the majority of Americans wants us to do.
A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from an organization called Patriots Ink out of Seminole, Florida. I believe the letter was a subtle threat that because of my MAIG membership I would be opposed “at the ballot box.”
I share with you below the letter dated February 21, 2011 from Patriots’ Ink Executive Director Steven D. Lange:
“Americans today are choosing sides. One group firmly believes in the United States Constitution and the principles of the Founding Fathers. The other views the Constitution and those founding principles as hindrances to progress and their agenda.
Patriot’s Ink belongs to the first group. We are a conservative PAC whose mission is to seek out and support persons and/or issues that believe in and closely follow our Constitution and those principles on which it is founded. Conversely, we will strongly oppose those persons and/or organizations which seek to undermine and destroy our Constitution and those principles our great nation was founded on. In the last twelve months, groups such as ours have experienced exponential growth and support of voting taxpayers at the federal, state and local levels, attesting to our firm belief that the Constitution must be adhered to as supreme law of our land.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns belongs to the second group. It has an agenda that seeks to dismantle the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, using scare tactics and legal loopholes to promote their agenda. By becoming a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns you have aligned yourself with this group.
You have chosen your position, as we have chosen ours. There are no gray areas in this conflict. The outcome of this issue will be decided at the ballot box.”
This isn’t the first time I have received these types of subtle threats. The NRA has sent post cards to their members asking them to contact me and MAIG members across the country to withdraw from membership in Mayors Against Illegal Guns. This was prior to the election of our current term.
One man called me and said he had his absentee ballot in his hand and wanted to know if I would “get out of that Bloomberg organization.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mayor Thomas Menino are co-founders of MAIG. I responded to the gentleman, “It looks like you’re going to vote against me.”
Throughout my law enforcement career and now as mayor, I have always supported good, common-sense gun legislation. I have taken my oaths of office in support of the United States Constitution, including the Second Amendment, and I firmly believe that I have always abided by and supported my oath of office to include the U.S. Constitution.
Unfortunately, I believe Mr. Lange of Patriots’ Ink has it wrong as to which group I belong to. I belong to the majority group of Americans who fully support good, reasonable gun legislation. It is also most unfortunate that many politicians are fearful of organizations that threaten them if they were to vote to support good gun legislation. They are fearful of the money and threats that are used to try to defeat them.
I only wish that they would stand up to these groups and do what is right to try and protect the public they serve. In doing so, they would be on the side of the American people.
MAIG recently released the findings of a new poll that shows strong support among Americans and gun owners. The bipartisan poll, commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Guns was conducted by the Democratic firm Momentum Analysis and the Republican firm American Viewpoint.
Below is a summary of the findings of the bipartisan poll commissioned by the MAIG:
Nine out of Ten Americans Support Efforts to Connect the Dots and get Every Record Into the Gun Background Check Database:
90 percent of Americans and 90 percent of gun owners support fixing gaps in government databases that are meant to prevent the mentally ill, drug abusers and others from buying guns.
91 percent of Americans and 93 percent of gun owners support requiring federal agencies to share information about suspected dangerous persons or terrorists to prevent them from buying guns.
89 percent of Americans and 89 percent of gun owners support full funding of the law Congress passed unanimously and President George W. Bush signed after the Virginia Tech shootings to put more records in the background check database.
Americans Broadly Support Closing Loopholes and Gaps in Background Checks:
86 percent of Americans and 81 percent of gun owners support requiring all gun buyers to pass a background check, no matter where they buy the gun and no matter who they buy it from.
89 percent of Americans and 85 percent of gun owners support a law to require background checks for all guns sold at gun shows.
Americans Overwhelmingly Believe the Second Amendment Protects a Responsible Law-abiding Individual’s Right to Own Handguns:
79 percent of Americans and 90 percent of gun owners believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to own guns and is not limited to protecting the rights of state militias.
80 percent of Americans and 90 percent of gun owners oppose a law that would ban the sale of all handguns.
As is clearly evident, Americans support good, sensible gun legislation. If you believe, as I do, that we need to tell Congress to stand up to organizations who oppose most, if not all, gun legislation, then I ask you to go to this web site www.fixgunchecks.org and join us mayors and over 250,000 Americans who have signed a petition to tell Congress to do the following:
Ensure that all records of criminals, the mentally ill and drug abusers, who are prohibited from purchasing guns, are included in the background check system.
Close the loopholes in the background check system by requiring a background check for every gun sale.
Every day, 34 people are killed with the use of a gun—since the Tucson Massacre, 2,001 people have been killed with the use of guns here in America. When will Congress act to end this madness? We need to speak loud and clear to those we have elected that they should not succumb to the subtle threats from organizations such as the letter I received from Patriots’ Ink.
Added note: During the time I was writing this column, another person was killed with the use of a gun; we are now at 2,002 killed since the Tucson killings. Please sign the petition.
See Mayor Gilbert’s personal blog at www.MayorLarryGilbert.com.