“The rampage at Virginia Tech is a heinous crime that has shaken the whole nation. The families of all those affected are in our hearts and in our prayers.” So say Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Co-Chairs of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition. On April 17, the day after the entire nation reeled from the tragic shootings in Virginia, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak today joined Chaska Police Chief Scott Knight, American Hunters and Shooters Association President Ray Schoenke and other metro area mayors and police chiefs to announce a national partnership of mayors, police chiefs and gun owners to crack down on illegal gun sales used in violent crime. Mayor Rybak and Chief Knight announced the launch of a new national media campaign to inform citizens on how federal policies on illegal guns prevent police officers from doing their jobs. The campaign includes a television advertisement, a web video on ProtectPolice.org, a banner advertisement for ProtectPolice.org and a web ad that plays a 30-second version of the video.
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube
“As tragedy struck in Virginia yesterday, we were abruptly reminded of the quick violence that a gun in the wrong hands can play,” Mayor Rybak said. “There are simply too many guns in our country, in our state and here in our city.”
“Month after month our police officers seize record amounts of illegal guns from our streets and month after month more illegal guns show up in our city,” Mayor Rybak added. “Last year alone, Minneapolis police seized more than 1,200 guns from our streets. This is a national problem that must be addressed at a national level and Congress needs to stop preventing our police from doing their jobs.”
In the new video and accompanying advertisements, Chief Knight explains the limits that the federal government imposes on local police and describes how the federal Tiahrt Amendment prevents police from being able to effectively address gun crime by looking at trends, sources, and the ability to “connect the dots” between illegal guns and crime.
“I don’t want my officers to have their hands tied when it comes to dealing with the issue of illegal guns and criminals,” Chief Knight says in the video. “In order to do good policing, you’ve got to have good information and it’s beyond me why Congress is fighting us.”
The new video and the television and Internet ads refer viewers to the ProtectPolice.org website for details on how the Tiahrt Amendment prevents police officers from doing their jobs. This includes preventing local governments and police from accessing federal gun trace data from areas outside their immediate geographic jurisdiction, preventing sharing of trace data with other cities, preventing use of trace data in state and local civil enforcement actions, including gun license revocations, and preventing the Bureau of Alcohol Firearms Tobacco and Explosives from publishing reports that use gun trace data to analyze nationwide gun trafficking patterns.
Mr. Schoenke reinforced the need for common sense gun laws, saying, “We want our police to have all of the necessary resources to keep our communities safe. Police officers risk their lives every day to keep us safe. We should be fighting to do everything possible to give them the ammunition they need to take illegal guns off our streets. We can do that while also standing firm in defense of our Constitutional rights.”
Mayor Rybak used the campaign launch to encourage more Minnesota mayors to join The Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a national advocacy effort of more than 175 mayors dedicated to making America’s cities safer by cracking down on illegal guns.
“Mayors from cities big and small, from across the political spectrum, agree it’s time to start finding common ground on real solutions to this problem and get tough on those small minority of gun sellers who repeatedly violate the law and put our cities in harms way,” Mayor Rybak said.
“We need tougher gun laws and we will fight for them. Our fight against illegal guns needs to reach beyond the borders of Minneapolis and beyond the borders of partisanship,” Rybak said. “This country needs to maximize penalties for those who posses, use and traffic in illegal guns, and hold the worst gun dealers accountable for their actions.”