Watch for white hats and shirts, and red bandannas Thursday in Missoula when the second of two Montana appearances by the “No More Names’ bus tour – sponsored by the anti-gun Mayors Against Illegal Guns – arrives at Liberty Mall on the University of Montana campus.
It’s the closest to Washington state that the bus will travel, and it remains to be seen whether there will be a repeat appearance by the parents of a man murdered in Seattle 25 years ago. According to the US Newswire, Verna and Leona Tolstedt’s 31-year-old son was fatally shot.
Yesterday, the “No More Names” tour was in Helena, where Democrat State Rep. Amanda Curtis insisted that the so-called “universal background checks” legislation being touted by MAIG would not lead to gun confiscation. Curtis told the small crowd that turned out for the event that her brother killed himself while playing Russian roulette at a party when she was 17. How that might have been prevented by a background check was not explained.
MAIG, founded by anti-gun billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has had no small amount of bad publicity in recent days. In addition to one of its California members being named in a sexual harassment lawsuit as this column reported, several news agencies are looking at defections from the group. The New Hampshire Union Leader editorialized yesterday that the group should change its name to Mayors for Gun Control, noting, “The organization’s misleading name was a ruse to boost membership.”
The New York Post reported yesterday that dozens of mayors have bailed or left the group as they left office in recent months. According to the Post, “Bloomberg, who pumped millions of dollars of his personal fortune into the group to make it one of the loudest voices in the gun-control debate, now is struggling to replace ex-members.”
Tomorrow’s gathering in Missoula may attract more Big Sky Country gun owners and activists than gun control supporters, if Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, is successful in his effort. He sent an e-mail to activists last night noting, “I’d like for us to look similar, and especially identifiably different than the few expected to support Bloomberg’s anti-gun effort. I don’t want the media to show our 100 and their 10 and claim 110 came to support Bloomberg’s anti-gun efforts. I recommend that our folk wear white shirts or white T-shirts, white hats if possible, and a red bandanna if you have one.
“Our theme will be ‘Guns Save Lives’,” he continued. “Make a poster…”
Marbut has 21 wooden “look-like” rifles that can be used for sign boards.
“The MAIG folks will be reciting the names of people killed by illegal guns (including, they claim, one of the two Boston Bombers),” Marbut’s note said. “We need to be prepared to read a LOT of names of people whose lives have been saved by guns. Please, copy a bunch of names (and city and state) from several copies of the Armed Citizen page of your American Rifleman or American Hunter, or from here.”
Among the other curiosities at Tuesday’s Helena event was the only apparent law enforcement support came from Scott Swanson, a retired deputy police chief from Santa Rosa, Calif., who now resides in Montana. He wants expanded background checks and calls this “a moral issue, not a political issue.”
One might be compelled to ask Swanson why he moved to Montana, with its “gun in every pickup” lifestyle, from California. Perhaps, if he is at Missoula, Marbut will get the opportunity.
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