The biggest issue for most Pennsylvanians looking to call for their mayors to leave the coalition will be convincing them that Mayor Bloomberg is a political liability. If the mayor is a true believer, there is no need to waste time or energy on an extended activist phone campaign. It might be time to either concentrate on booting them out via the ballot box or find another election to get involved with in advance of next year’s battles.
However, one thing you’ll rarely find in politics is a true believer. That doesn’t mean hope is lost. There are arguments to be made that Bloomberg brings baggage.
- Make the mayor aware that Bloomberg signed his/her name to an ad that was run in both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Philadelphia Inquirer opposing a bipartisan federal concealed carry amendment that carried 58 votes in the Senate. Ask if the mayor approved the ad and gave permission for their name to be attached. Also ask the mayor if he/she gave approval for the USA Today ad that says law-abiding concealed carry permit holders “threaten the safety of our police officers.” The ad also says that allowing such permit holders the cross state borders will “undoubtedly result in the deaths of more innocent Americans.”
- If challenged, politely point out that his/her name is specifically included on ads. Perhaps offer to fax a copy of the ads or email a copy to the mayor. Highlight or circle the name for good measure.
- In fact, you might want to ask if any local tax dollars contributed toward paying for the ads. You might also ask if any tax dollars or city services are contributed toward the other programs Bloomberg is running within the coalition. Ask if local money has funded any trips to meet with him or federal officials in regards to Second Amendment issues. With more than half a million of us, it’s a reasonable question to which other gun owners in the town would love to know the answer.
- Also inquire about the letters sent to Congress on concealed carry and other federal issues. If they mayor doesn’t know what you’re talking about, point out that all of the coalition mayors signed a letter to Speaker Pelosi condemning concealed carry across the country. Ask why he/she personally believes that the existence of your concealed carry permit makes you a gun trafficker, as the letter implies. Find out if your mayor endorses the position of revoking Constitutional rights without due process via the terror watch list. Take your favorite quotes and ask if he/she endorses them. Ask about current activities the mayor is involved in at the federal level, and if he/she plans to keep the town’s residents informed of these activities. If they don’t support these actions, suggest that rather than having the Mayor of NYC attribute these statements, they might consider leaving the organization.
- Politely let the mayor know that a decision to leave is not one that will hurt him/her. First, gun control supporters don’t vote on that issue, but gun owners do. Second, they will join a list of mayors, include recent dropouts from Ohio and Texas (Houston, no less!). Previous Pennsylvania mayors have also dropped out, arguing that the coalition was not as presented, “I have learned that the coalition may be working on issues which conflict with legal gun ownership, and that some actions on your behalf are dubious.” Even New Jersey mayors have removed themselves after find out what Bloomberg was doing in their name, “Regrettably, it has become abundantly clear to me that you are using this coalition of mayors to advance a hidden agenda of bringing lawsuits against members of the firearms industry and spreading anti-gun propaganda.”
If the mayor doesn’t make any promises, have family members or shooting buddies call in the next few days. Spread the word around the local range. Start with phone calls and/or emails asking pointed (and polite!) questions about their involvement. Do it as a concerned citizen, not simply a gun owner.
The next step before the ballot box might be letters to the editor, particularly if you have a town newspaper. The smaller, the better in many cases. The small papers eat stuff like this up! A letter to the editor may inspire questions from the paper. A little local controversy is always good for readership. (One angle would be to press the tax dollar/time contributed line of questions first. In this economy, there’s no room for wasting time or money on these issues at the local level of government.)
Remember, the goal is to reduce Bloomberg’s sphere of influence. If the mayor is willing to leave the group, say thank you! Ask for verification, or if they might be willing to share the notification letter with you so you can pass it along to other gun owners. Be willing to accept that some people really didn’t understand what they were signing on to with this group. While it can legitimately be argued they should have done their homework, there’s more peer pressure in Pennsylvania than anywhere else in the country. Let’s make sure they remember that constituents are more important than government peers.