||FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2007
14 MAYORS FROM OHIO AND KENTUCKY JOIN BI-PARTISAN COALITION OF MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS
New Group of Bi-Partisan Mayors Enlist in Growing Coalition and Sign Letter to Congress
Advertising Campaign Launched to Oppose Tiahrt Amendment
Coalition's New Web Site Unveiled: ProtectPolice.org
The bi-partisan coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns today announced that 14 Mayors from Ohio and Kentucky, led by Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, signed the coalition's statement of principles and joined the growing ranks of mayors, 182 in all, dedicated to combating illegal guns. At the announcement, held at the Cincinnati Police Academy, the Mayors signed a letter to Congress urging the repeal of the "Tiahrt Amendment," which restricts the access of cities and law enforcement to gun trace data. Co-chair New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg also unveiled the coalition's latest project: an internet and television advertising campaign to expose how the Tiahrt Amendment ties the hands of law enforcement. As part of this campaign, the coalition has created a new website, ProtectPolice.org, that hosts a new video featuring the Chief of Police for Chaska, Minnesota, Scott Knight (who is also the Chair of the Firearms Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which opposes the Tiahrt Amendment). The video, with its message urging the repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment, will be the basis for a television and Internet campaign targeting Washington, DC and certain congressional districts.
"In the five years that I have been mayor of New York, too many police officers have been gunned down in the line of duty, including two during an undercover operation to take illegal guns off the street," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Each of their senseless murders has only strengthened my resolve to do everything I can to crack down on illegal guns. Today, we are showing Congress two things: our bi-partisan coalition is growing, and we mean business. I want to thank Mayor Mallory and all the mayors from Ohio and Kentucky for stepping up and joining this effort, which will help us save lives and protect our police officers."
"I applaud Mayor Mallory for joining Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Not only has Mayor Mallory decided to join the Coalition, he has recruited several other Mayors from the Cincinnati region to take up the fight against the proliferation of illegal guns," said Boston's Mayor and coalition co-chair Thomas M. Menino. "Mayors are problem solvers, we get the calls when senseless violence takes the lives of members of our communities. Mayor Bloomberg and I look forward to working with our new members to get the illegal guns off our streets and make all of our communities safer."
"Public Safety is a regional issue that requires a united response. Criminals do not recognize municipal boundaries, and we need to make sure that our efforts do not stop at our individual borders either," Mayor Mallory said. "It is entirely too easy for criminals to get their hands on illegal guns and use them to commit acts of violence. I am proud to stand with Mayor Bloomberg and my fellow Mayors to today to join this crucial public safety effort."
The new members of the Mayor's Against Illegal Guns Coalition are:
Cincinnati, Ohio - Mayor Mark Mallory
Arlington Heights, Ohio - Mayor Joseph Harper
Cleves, Ohio - Mayor Danny Stacy
Covington, Kentucky - Mayor Butch Callery
Fairfax, Ohio - Mayor Theodore Shannon
Forest Park, Ohio - Mayor Jim Lawler
Glendale, Ohio - Mayor Joseph C. Hubbard
Golf Manor, Ohio - Mayor Alan Zaffiro
Harrison, Ohio - Mayor Daniel Gieringer
Lincoln Heights, Ohio - Mayor Deborah Seay
Lockland, Ohio - Mayor Jim Brown
Newport, Kentucky - Mayor Thomas L. Guidugli
Silverton, Ohio - Mayor John Smith
Wyoming, Ohio - Mayor Barry Porter
Mayor Bloomberg and the Ohio and Kentucky Mayors were joined at the announcement by Delhi, Ohio Township President Albert C. Duebber.
First Act of New Members is to Sign Letter to Congress
The first act of the 14 new Ohio and Kentucky Mayors was to sign a letter calling on Congress to reject the provisions of the Tiahrt Amendment. These provisions, which have been inserted into the Department of Justice appropriations bill each year since FY 2003, place counter-productive restrictions on access to and use of gun trace data that is compiled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The letter, excerpted below, explains that criminals do not operate based on geographic boundaries and law enforcement agencies in a region need to be able to work together to crack down on illegal guns:
"Right now, a city in Ohio cannot gather and share regional gun trace data with authorities of a city in Kentucky or even another city in Ohio. The ability to freely access and share regional data would allow cities to compare data that point, for example, to common illegal traffickers or a single problem dealer that is a source of large numbers of guns used in crimes."
The letter will be sent to the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives as well as the members of the House and Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science.
Coalition of Mayors Launches ProtectPolice.org Media Campaign
The Mayors also announced the launch of a media campaign to inform citizens on how the Tiahrt Amendment hurts law enforcement. The campaign includes a television advertisement, a two-minute web video hosted on ProtectPolice.org, a banner advertisement for ProtectPolice.org and a web advertisement that plays a 30-second version of the video. In the video and accompanying advertisements, the limits that the Tiahrt Amendment imposes on police are explained by Chaska, Minnesota Chief of Police Scott Knight. As narrator, Chief Knight describes how the Tiahrt Amendment prevents him from being able to effectively address gun crime by looking at trends, sources, and the ability to "connect the dots."
Both the new video and the television and Internet advertisements refer viewers to the ProtectPolice.org website for details on exactly how the Tiahrt Amendment prevents police officers from doing their jobs. This includes preventing local governments and police from accessing federal gun trace data from areas outside their immediate geographic jurisdiction, preventing sharing of trace data with other cities, preventing use of trace data in state and local civil enforcement actions, including gun license revocations, and preventing the Bureau of Alcohol Firearms Tobacco and Explosives from publishing reports that use gun trace data to analyze nationwide gun trafficking patterns. The website also lists the over 20 national and state police organizations that oppose the Tiahrt Amendment as well as the full text of the Tiahrt Amendment itself.
American Hunters and Shooters Association Addresses New Coalition Members
Ray Schoenke, President of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, also spoke at the announcement about the need for common sense in gun policy, protecting America's hunting and sport shooting heritage, and hunting and fishing conservation. The American Hunters and Shooters association believes in the need for strategies to keep illegal guns out of our communities, while also preserving the rights of law-abiding gun owners. The Hunters and Shooters Association supports rational, deliberative firearms policy crafted to protect sportsman and their communities.
"We want a seat at the table when it comes to discussing gun rights and the Mayors Coalition has welcomed us as a voice representing hunters and shooting sportsmen across America," said AHSA President Schoenke. "We staunchly support the Second Amendment, but we also strongly support our police, who risk their lives every day to protect my family and yours. We've got a responsibility to ensure that guns don't fall into the hands of criminals and that we punish to the fullest extent of the law individuals who would misuse guns to terrorize our communities. We can do all of this while at the same time standing firm in defense of our Constitutional rights."
About the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition
In January a group of over 50 mayors met in Washington DC for a summit on illegal guns. The Summit sparked an expansion of the coalition. Today's announcement, as well as the recent addition of other Mayors from areas beyond Kentucky and Ohio, brings the total number of Mayors to 182, just one year after the group was formed. The combined population of the cities represented by the Mayors is over 50,000,000. In March, Coalition co-chairs Bloomberg and Menino wrote a letter signed by every Mayor and sent to every member of Congress urging the removal of the Tiahrt Amendment. For more information please visit www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org.
||New York City Mayor's Press Office
||Boston Mayor's Press Office