They're almost everywhere, hiding in plain sight, and they're dangerous. What are they? They're local mayors who have pledged fealty to Mike Bloomberg and his organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, or MAIG.
Opposing illegal guns, what's wrong with that?
What's wrong is that the organization is not what it advertises itself to be. Not only does MAIG advocate for more restrictive gun control laws than their recruiting information claims, they do it in often shady ways – utilizing taxpayer dollars to fund lobbying efforts to restrict the rights of those same taxpayers. In addition, a disproportionate number of MAIG-aligned mayors have been indicted and convicted for various crimes in recent years. It's hard to say why the sleaze runs so thick – charges have ranged from bribery and corruption to embezzlement, assault and even child abuse – but the correlation is undeniable. Maybe it's because MAIG's duplicitous methods attract the duplicitous.
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MAIG was founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg supposedly to advocate for laws to stop the "flow of illegal guns" into our communities. Like so many sound bites, that statement sounds good on the surface, but looking just a little deeper reveals flaws. The first problem with the idea is that the organization implies that they only seek tighter controls on guns that are already "illegal." In fact, MAIG wants to expand the range of guns considered "illegal" by banning more guns and adding more people to the list of prohibited persons. Illegalizing illegal guns goes to another level. And how exactly does making guns "illegaler" help anyone?
What MAIG actually is at its core is a gun-ban organization. It is an organization developed by big-city mayors from cities that already have restrictive gun laws, but who want to export those restrictive gun laws to other cities, towns and the nation. The laws have failed to reduce crime in their cities, so mayors like Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Tom Menino want to export those failed laws around the country under the tried and true hoplophobic formula that when a gun control law fails, the reasonable response is to institute more gun control laws. And it appears that there isn't any gun control law MAIG doesn't support – from bans on semi-auto rifles and limits on magazine capacity to bans on self-defense carry – and self-defense itself. MAIG Director Mark Glaze suggested that it would be cowardly, unmanly and unjustifiable for a person to ever shoot someone who attacked them with only their hands and feet. Glaze must be a really tough guy, and he must not have a wife, mother, or daughter.
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There has long been suspicion about much of the MAIG staff being employees of the city of New York while actually working full-time for MAIG. Scrutiny of that issue increased recently when Mayor Bloomberg apparently sent a city employee to Nevada – at NYC taxpayer expense – to lobby the governor to sign a gun control bill. It also recently came out that MAIG was apparently set up on New York City computer servers, utilizing them to handle the group's website, email and other functions at no charge. The Second Amendment Foundation filed a Freedom of Information claim against the city demanding copies of all documents and email traffic on city computer systems having anything to do with MAIG. That should result in either a wealth of inside information about the group or an illegal stonewall. In a perfect, world either of those results would lead to criminal charges for obstructing justice and misappropriating funds, but this world is not perfect. Perhaps, as NRA has suggested, Bloomberg really is just too rich to face criminal charges, no matter how well-founded.
MAIG has also enticed other mayors to break the law and betray their constituents by offering to pay partial salaries for city employees who are in fact lobbyists for MAIG. The way the scam works is that MAIG, or one of its associated groups, offers a city a grant to pay for a MAIG/Community Anti-Violence Coordinator, and MAIG provides the candidate. The city creates the new position, typically paying a portion of the person's salary and providing health benefits at taxpayer expense, and the "Coordinator," who is always a dedicated MAIG operative, lobbies the city council, state legislature and governor on behalf of MAIG and their agenda.
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Imagine the outrage if the NRA offered cities a grant to create a position of NRA Community Gun Safety Coordinator whose function was to go to community meetings, develop gun safety programs, sit in on city public safety meetings, provide expert advice to city council members, and lobby on the city's behalf in the state capitol on gun safety issues – and the person hired was a long-time NRA employee, or someone like me who has been an outspoken advocate for a gun-rights agenda.
Is the mayor of your city or town a member of MAIG? There's an easy way to find out; just go to the membership list on the MAIG website. If your mayor is listed, send him or her a note asking if he agreed to be listed, and urging him to resign from the group immediately. Tell your mayor that you will actively work against his or her re-election if they're still a MAIG member come election time. If your mayor is not on the list, send him a note urging him to never fall for the MAIG line. The group is continually recruiting, and it's better to head off such a mistake than to try and correct it later. For more information to use in your note or to share with your mayor, check the MAIG Resource Page on our website, www.FirearmsCoalition.org.