Colorado

Colorado Mayors Weigh In On Bloomberg Group’s Gun Control Campaign

Policy

Several active Colorado members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) have come out in full-fledged support of the organization’s most recent “Demand A Plan” campaign, which outlines the explicit intent of limiting law-abiding citizens’ access to legal firearms as a way to curb gun violence. Not all Colorado mayors are as enthusiastic about the group’s use of school shootings to advocate more gun control.

MAIG, an anti-Second Amendment group founded by and managed from the office of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, launched “Demand A Plan” in the wake of the December 2012 Sandy Hook school shootings. MAIG has used the tragedy to further its political agenda and lobbying work for anti-gun legislation.

The group’s current campaign advocates a three-pronged course of federal action that MAIG claims will drastically reduce gun violence: first, require universal background checks for every gun sale – public or private – in the US; second, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and third, make gun-trafficking a federal crime.

“Demand A Plan” has utilized advertising via Facebook and other social media outlets to propagate MAIG’s talking points. One such ad depicts a little girl crying and warns ominously of predicted future gun violence statistics. The text next to the picture suggests 48,000 Americans will be murdered with guns in in the next four years unless MAIG’s gun control plan is adopted.

The same text is also featured on the front page of MAIG’s website.

Media Trackers recently reached out to the thirteen mayors throughout Colorado are current members of MAIG, asking for comment on their reaction to the “Demand A Plan” campaign. The mayors were each asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the plan proposed by the campaign, and whether they believed the advertising used was an effective way of conveying their message.

Only three mayors –  Marjorie Sloan of Golden,  Joe Gierlach of Nederland, and Stu Fraser of Telluride – responded in time for publication. All three support the goals of “Demand A Plan,” and two of the mayors agreed with the campaign’s method of advertising.

Telluride Mayor Stu Fraser told Media Trackers, “I believe in the message we are attempting to deliver.” He noted that the town of Telluride passed a resolution on January 8 specifically naming and approving of MAIG’s Demand A Plan campaign.

Fraser also commented in a January 3 interview on Telluride TV that high capacity magazines should be outlawed because “hunters don’t need [them].” The interviewer and host on the show responded, “exactly”. Here, Fraser also boasted that he was one of sixty MAIG mayors on the conference call that helped create the three point plan used in MAIG’s campaign.

Marjorie Sloan, the mayor of Golden, said, “I do agree with MAIG’s three-pronged course of action and I believe its advertising campaign is effective.” She mentioned a gun resolution passed by the city of Golden in October, noting how happy she was that the city was able to take into account the observations of two lifetime NRA members.

Mayor Joe Gierlach of Nederland disagreed with the caution tape used regularly in the “Demand A Plan” video advertising, saying that he believed that it “crosses that line, and turns people off, and viewers probably never click on the video.” However, Gierlach did not disagree with the message of the plan or advertising.

Other mayors who refused comment or did not reply included those from high-profile cities like Boulder and Denver as well as other towns including Englewood, Lafayette, Lakewood, Louisville, Manitou Springs, Northglenn, Salida, and Superior.

Elsewhere in Colorado, mayors took a stand in favor of law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights. In Colorado Springs, for example, Mayor Steve Bach stated publicly and on the record that he will never join MAIG. The Colorado Springs Gazette published an editorial piece in February 2012 outlining Mayor Bach’s pro-gun stance and the “ugly” tactics used by MAIG in Colorado and across the nation.

Yesterday, the County Sheriffs of Colorado, a non-partisan association that represents all 62 of Colorado’s sheriffs, published a memo of universal opposition to the new gun laws expected to proposed by state Democrats in the House and Senate.

Governor John Hickenlooper was a member of MAIG during his tenure as mayor of Denver. Hickenlooper has been relatively quiet on the issue of gun control during his time as governor, but he told the Associated Press in December that he believes “now is the time” to address state gun control policies.

In his address to the incoming 2013 General Assembly, Hickenlooper requested that state legislators review Colorado’s current gun laws. Governor Hickenlooper plans to meet with David A. Keene, President of the National Rifle Association (NRA), on February 7.

Follow Kyle Forti on Twitter: @kyleforti

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