As the National Rifle Association gathers in St. Louis for its annual convention, I have a message for its members that its leadership doesn't want them to hear: I agree with you. And it's time for the NRA's Washington-based leadership to start listening to you.Bloomberg goes on to discuss the Trayvon Marton tragedy (a topic that's casting a pall over this year's NRA meeting) and how the passage of "Stand Your Ground" laws (also known as "Shoot First" legislation) have led to a double and tripling of "justifiable homicide" cases in states like Florida, Georgia and Texas.
To hear most pundits and political strategists tell it, Americans are hopelessly divided by guns. But we're not. Polls show that NRA members, and gun owners generally, overwhelmingly support common sense steps to ensure that guns are kept out of the hands of criminals...
The problem is that those who claim to speak for gun owners in Washington--including the leadership of the NRA--are out of sync with their members. They are interested in pushing a political ideology, not protecting public safety--and nowhere is that more evident than in the NRA's advocacy for "Stand Your Ground" laws.
Mayors join the coalition because we don't have the luxury of viewing the gun issue as an endless ideological debate. We are pragmatists and problem-solvers, and our first responsibility is protecting public safety. When criminals illegally possess and use guns, people rightly hold us accountable for stopping it. We support the Second Amendment, but we don't hide behind it.For what it's worth, St. Louis' Francis Slay is also a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. But unlike Bloomberg, he's been fairly mute on the NRA's convention here this weekend (probably because of the millions of dollars its expected to generate for the city). He has weighed in -- somewhat -- on the Trayvon Martin controversy. Read his blog post on that topic here.
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