by Alice Dubenetsky
Is the activist gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) a legitimate organization tasked with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals or is it merely a front for increased gun control and a multifaceted assault on the 2nd Amendment?
MAIG is a nationwide coalition of mostly Democratic mayors founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino in 2006. The group has approximately 1,000 members, although the number fluctuates as members come and go.
MAIG’S website states that their principal goals are to support the Second Amendment and the rights of citizens to own guns. “We recognize that that the vast majority of gun dealers and gun owners carefully follow the law….what binds us together is a determination to fight crime, and a belief that we can do more to stop criminals from getting guns while also protecting the rights of citizens who freely own them.”
Members of MAIG must sign a Statement of Principals, which include the following:
- Punish – to the maximum extent of the law – criminals who possess, use, and traffic in illegal guns.
- Target and hold accountable irresponsible gun dealers who break the law by knowingly selling guns to straw purchasers.
- Oppose all federal efforts to restrict cities’ right to access, use, and share trace data that is so essential to effective enforcement, or to interfere with the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to combat illegal gun trafficking.
- Keep lethal, military-style weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines off our streets.
- Work to develop and use technologies that aid in the detection and tracing of illegal guns.
- Support all local state and federal legislation that targets illegal guns; coordinate legislative, enforcement, and litigation strategies; and share information and best practices.
- Invite other cities to join us in this new national effort.
MAIG did indeed invite cities in Vermont to join, and four mayors accepted the invitation. In the aftermath of the tragic Newtown Connecticut shootings last year, MAIG Mayors Miro Weinberger of Burlington, Thom Lauzon, Barre; John Hollar, Montpelier; and Christopher Lauras, Rutland joined together in a “coalition against illegal guns”.
“We have a moment where change is possible here,” said Weinberger at a joint news conference. Both Weinberger and Hollar support a ban on “military-style assault weapons.” Barre Mayor Lauzon, perhaps more in tune with his constituents, does not support the “assault weapons” ban, although he does generally support the goals of MAIG.
Weinberger backed off of his “assault weapon” stance during a vote of the Burlington City Council last month. Just prior to the vote, Weinberger announced that, “after careful consideration” he was backtracking from his position on an assault weapons ban, as well as his previous position support for a mandatory concealed carry permit in the City of Burlington. Apparently, agreeing with MAIG in general is a very different kettle of fish than facing his actual constituents here in Vermont, where gun rights are part of the heritage and the very fabric of the state. Presumably pragmatism trumped dogma as the Mayor looked down the road to his next election.
It would be helpful if Mayer Weinberger, other gun control advocates, and the public in general understood that “military style assault weapons” are actually assault rifles, aka machine guns, such as the M-16, that are capable of firing multiple rounds with a single pull of the trigger. The Federal Government outlawed military-style fully automatic rifles for civilian use in 1986.
What gun control advocates are actually referring to are semi-automatic rifles, which fire one round per pull on the trigger. These include hunting rifles, shotguns, many handguns and yes, the much maligned AR-15, which despite its scary appearance only cosmetically resembles the banned M-16, and functions the same as any other semi-automatic. Politicians are counting on public ignorance and hysteria to replace common sense as the gun control debate rages on and MAIG is wholly complicit in this duplicity.
Recently, in Colorado, gun control activists, funded and emboldened by MAIG and generous funding from millionaire Bloomberg, ran into a buzz saw of public fury after passage of a series of gun control measures. Outraged citizens mounted a recall and successfully unseated State Senate President John Morse and State Senator Angela Giron after passage of a law that imposed universal background checks and limited magazines to 15 rounds. It was the first recall in the history of Colorado, and a leading indicator that defenders of the 2nd Amendment will not sit quietly by and watch their rights eroded.
But why don’t these defenders of gun rights want “common sense” legislation? It’s a question that baffles and frustrates local community members and legislators who for the most part truly believe their initiatives will lead to greater public safety.
Many, if not most, gun rights advocates believe that any restrictions on their 2nd Amendment rights today will have a “slippery slope” effect. This gut feeling is bolstered by tangible evidence that, in the current political climate, we are witnessing an out of control authoritarian government willing to actively erode the Constitution at every turn, under the guise of moral superiority.
The purpose of MAIG is to embolden local governments to join in this attempted dissolution at a local level, picking apart the rights of law- abiding U.S. citizens by making LEGAL ownership, transfer and transport of guns, ammo and clips ILLEGAL.
In the coming months and years, it will be interesting to determine whether the citizens of Vermont will allow their elected officials to join with this type of big government, heavily funded outside group, who’s sole intent is to encourage legislation against their Constitutional interests.