A RESPONSE TO ANTHONY MELE’S FEB. 9 COLUMN DEFENDING THE SECOND AMENDMENT

Rockland Mayors Fight Illegal Guns

BY NORAMIE JASMIN, MAYOR OF SPRING VALLEY, MICHAEL KOHUT, MAYOR OF HAVERSTRAW, AND JOHN RAMUNDO, MAYOR OF WEST HAVERSTRAW

The Giants were not the only thing to root for on Super Bowl Sunday. You may have also seen a commercial for Mayors Against Illegal Guns. It’s a bipartisan coalition that includes more than 600 mayors across the country, including 120 in New York.

Our coalition believes it’s possible to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in this country – 12,000 gun murders per year – by closing deadly loopholes in the law while at the same time protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Anthony Mele, writing in this paper, took issue with the coalition’s ad and claimed that our mayors are intent on disarming the American public. So we decided to present the facts and let you decide.

The coalition’s top priority is getting Congress to require background checks for all gun sales. Licensed gun dealers are already required to run background checks. But in most states, like Virginia, private sellers are not required to run these checks and buyers are not required to carry a license, like they do in New York. A person can pay cash and walk away with a gun. This loophole enables criminals to purchase weapons at gun shows and over the internet, and then traffic them into states like New York.

Virginia is the top “exporter” of crime guns to New York. Last year alone, more than 400 guns that originated in Virginia were recovered in New York crimes. It’s clear that traffickers will continue to exploit the private sale loophole until Congress takes a stand.

Eighty-six percent of Americans, including 81 percent of gun owners, agree with us. Background checks only take a few minutes. In our experience, responsible gun owners understand how these quick and easy checks help keep guns out of the wrong hands. Mr. Mele also takes issue with the coalition’s opposition to what’s known as “national concealed carry reciprocity.”

This is a bill currently pending in Congress that would force police officers here in Rockland County to honor concealed carry gun permits issued anywhere in the country. If there was ever an opportunity for a Tea Party activist to depart from his fervent defense of states’ rights, this was not it.

Weak guidelines and poor oversight plague the gun permitting systems in a number of states. In fact, the Florida Sun-Sentinel has reported that Florida issued concealed carry permits to 1,400 individuals who pleaded guilty or no contest to felony crimes, 128 individuals under domestic violence protection orders, and six registered sex offenders.

Police officers in Spring Valley, Haverstraw, and West Haverstraw already put their lives on the line, patrolling our streets and making late-night traffic stops. Why would anyone want to make it easier for dangerous individuals to carry hidden and loaded guns into the state?

Mr. Mele claims that concealed carry permits should be treated “just like a driver’s license.” That would be great. Unfortunately, these permits are nothing like driver’s licenses. Some states will grant a permit to carry a loaded gun to a person with no training and no vision test. And unlike driver’s licenses, there’s no national database to call when police need to find out whether the permit is valid.

We applaud Rockland County’s Rep. Nita Lowey and Rep. Eliot Engel for voting against national reciprocity in the U.S. House.

As mayors, we don’t have the time to fight culture wars. But we do have time to fight for reasonable, common-sense policy that will save lives. It should come as no surprise that more than 600 mayors nationwide are part of this effort.

We are Republicans, Democrats and independents and, collectively, we represent more than 50 million Americans. Should Mr. Mele ever become the mayor of a small town or big city, it seems he would have little reason not to join us.

 

MELE FIRES BACK AT ‘MAIG’

BY ANTHONY MELE

“Mayors Against Illegal Guns new report shows state and federal failure undermine U.S. gun background check system and put guns in the hands of killers.”

This statement is found on the Mayors Against Illegal Guns website. However, do not let the title fool you because it is precisely designed to deceive an unwitting public.

What it really says is Mayor’s Against the Bill of Rights. Let’s use some good ole fashion common sense to understand this is another anti-gun gimmick. Matter of fact, we should be alarmed and insulted by elected officials assaulting the Bill of Rights. Their idea is to make more laws that criminalize the law-abiding citizen.

They post some “new” and clearly fabricated report without any scientific resource to support it, which says that state and federal government, who created the gun laws and enforce gun laws, have failed in exercising those laws and they “put guns in the hands of killers.”

Well, well, if this is their concern they should be Mayor’s Against the Attorney General Eric Holder whose “Operation Fast and Furious” intentionally put guns in the hands of the killer who murdered an American border guard in the conduct of his official duties.

Instead, they say infringing upon and disarming responsible gun-owners will stop “killers.” In Rockland County, New York Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns offer no solutions to the crimes that affect every citizen in their municipalities. This very group did not unite as Mayor’s Against Scams that Rip- Off The Tax-Payer, or Mayor’s Against Welfare Fraud, or Mayor’s Against Voter Fraud or Mayor’s Against Inappropriate Campaign Contributions from Vendors Awarded Juicy Contracts, or Mayor’s Against No-Show Jobs for Party Bosses and their Buddies.

I advise they respect the Bill of Rights instead of figuring out new and creative ways to circumvent it. They should protest against the Small Arms Ban Treaty that would violate the US Constitution. Let me offer an English language lesson to our well-intended but misguided politicians. A gun is a device, an inanimate object incapable of behavior. Violence is a human behavior, irrespective of the inanimate object. We have laws against destructive human behavior and jails are full of violators.

Now, they want to pass laws against inanimate objects. That is like taking away cars from sober people to stop drunk driving or regulating spoons to stop obesity.

A Federal Firearms Licensee calls in an F.B.I. background check and are instructed by the officer to either proceed, delay or deny. Any FFL who does not comply with the law would be heavily fined, face jail time or FFL voided and put out of business. No criminal who is intent on murder for instance is deterred by MAIG or any laws on the books. As a matter of fact, the only thing that can possibly deter or stop an armed “killer” prior to his crime or in the conduct of it, is a well-trained and armed free citizen.

Those that disarm the victim aided and abetted the killer. Think about it.