Mayors Against Illegal Guns have organized a 25-state rally, that they hope will result in stricter private gun ownership legislation. MAIG will be making a stop in Minneapolis, on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m, in front of the U.S. District Court House. The goal of the rally is to persuade Congress to pass legislation that would allow for more in dept background checks covering commercial gun sales.
Family members of victims and survivors of shootings in Minneapolis are planned to attend the rally. This will also include survivors of Minneapolis’ deadliest work place shooting and a sister of a Newtown, Conn. school shooting victim. The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul will also be in attendance.
MAIG claims on its own site to be “the nations largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization…”. They claim that they have a membership of 1,000 mayors from 46 different states. They also claim to have the support of 1.5 million people. But, the support of this so-called grassroots movement has recently been brought into question.
On April 25, 2006, a group of 15 mayors, which included Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, held the first MAIG meeting to discuss how they were going to stop the flow of illegal weapons into the U.S.
Fox News reports, that MAIG has lost 50 members over the past five months. Two of the dissident members are Rockford, Ill., Mayor Lawrence J. Morrissey and Nashua, N.H., Mayor Donnalee Lozeau. MAIG joined the national gun debate by making it clear in its mission statement that it was fighting against illegal guns entering the U.S. But, the 25-state rallies are focused on persuading Congress to pass legislation that will allow for more in dept background checks concerning commercial gun sales.
The straw that broke the camels back, for Lozeau, was when MAIG launched a commercial ad campaign attacking New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Ayotte had voted against legislation that would have allowed for almost all gun purchasers to have to go through an extended background check. ” I said, ‘Wait a minute. I don’t want to be part of something like that,’ I told them, ‘You’re Mayors Against Illegal Guns; you’re not mayors for gun control’.” said Lozeau.
With the reduction in membership, MAIG is still the largest gun control group in the nation. They are also the only group that stands a chance at countering the infamous National Rifle Association. Current members represent Republicans, Democrats and Independents. But, MAIG only reflects 5% of the 19,000 municipalities in the U.S.
©Kevin P. Roberson