By Chad D. Baus
For the past several years, Buckeye Firearms Association has published a series of articles entitled "All Politicians Are Not The Same," highlighting elected officials who have proven strong support for the Second Amendment. Today, I believe we can add two more names to the list: Rep. Josh Mandel and Village of Walton Hills Mayor Marlene Anielski.
Many pro-gun voters will already be familiar with Rep. Mandel's Second Amendment credentials. As a freshman representative in the Ohio House he co-sponsored the House version of Senate Bill 184, Ohio's 'Castle Doctrine' Law, supported it from his position on the House Criminal Justice Committee, and voted for it when it came to the floor. Early this summer, Mandel, who served two tours of duty in Iraq as an intelligence specialist with the United States Marine Corps, announced his intent to run for Treasurer of State. In choosing to move up to the state-wide level, Mandel is also giving up an opportunity to run for re-election as a state representative in House District 17.
Enter Marlene Anielski, who currently serves as mayor of the Village of Walton Hills, a Cuyahoga County community in Mandel's district. Anielski is hoping to win her party's nomination as candidate to replace Mandel in 2010, and she has earned the support of the out-going representative. As such, her candidacy has drawn early looks from Buckeye Firearms Association volunteers, including NRA Election Volunteer Coordinator Wayne Capka in Ohio's 10th Congressional District. As we dug, one problem became immediately apparent. Just a few months ago, Anielski joined the gun control front group New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg founded, and misleadingly named "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" (MAIG).
Given the misleading nature of the group, which has resulted in the resignation of several pro-gun mayors from around the country after they realized Bloomberg's duplicity, and considering her having earned Mandel's support, it has been the hope of pro-gun activists that Mayor Anielski's involvement would turn out to be yet another example of someone being misled by MAIG.
Buckeye Firearms Association can now report that those hopes have indeed been realized, and that Mayor Anielski has just become the latest person to resign her membership in Bloomberg's group.
When I first became aware that Anielski had recently joined the group, I contacted an acquaintance whom I knew to be working on Mandel's run for State Treasurer, inquiring as to whether or not he was aware of the affiliation.
Within a few days, Rep. Mandel telephoned me, and asked if he could put Mayor Anielski on a conference call. During the conversation that followed, Mayor Anielski informed me of her decision to resign from Mayor Bloomberg's anti-gun group, and indicated to me that she in fact had no idea the true nature of MAIG when she joined just a few months ago. In fact, she expressed that she and her husband are Life Members of the National Rifle Association (NRA)!
On August 17, Anielski followed through on her word, sending her resignation letter to Mayor Bloomberg both by fax and mail. Following is the text of that letter, which can also be downloaded here.
VIA FACSIMILE and U.S. MAIL
Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor of the City of New York
253 Broadway, # 9
New York, New York 10007
Subject: Resignation from Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG)
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
Upon careful review of your statements and actions, listening to the concerns of many of my constituents and receiving communications from and speaking with firearm industry officials, I hereby, effective immediately, resign my membership in the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition. I am withdrawing because you are attempting to erode all gun ownership, not just illegal guns.
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. I joined your coalition because of its purpose to combat the criminal acquisition and misuse of guns, which is a goal shared by every single American. Regrettably, it has become continuously 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.
Mayor, you and your coalition of allies have misrepresented yourselves to the mayors of America and its citizens. This effort is simply another attempt to shift blame for violent crime from criminals to law-abiding gun owners. This is gun control, not crime prevention. These tactics do not target illegal guns, but rather honest citizens and lawful dealers, essentially criminalizing all gun ownership. This coalition makes no distinction whatsoever between law-abiding gun owners and violent criminals.
Please Mayor Bloomberg, instead of being a part of a misguided coalition and advocating attacks against law-abiding gun owners, I ask you to direct your efforts towards strict enforcement of existing laws in our cities to ensure both our safety and civil rights. I am dedicated in defending and advancing the right of Ohio citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense and competitions. We need to defend our Constitutional rights to keep and bear arms.
Mayor, I can only hope that you will see my departure and the recent departure of other mayors from your coalition as a sign that things must change. We are all on the same side when it comes to stopping criminals from getting guns. Where you lose me is in your true quest – to end lawful firearms ownership and destroy a lawful American industry.
Warm personal regards,
Marlene B. Anielski, OCPM
Mayor / Safety Director
Village of Walton Hills, Ohio
Buckeye Firearms Association is pleased to be able to report that Mayor Anielski shares our desire to uphold the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Ohioans, and to combat the criminal misuse of firearms. We commend her for strong, principled stand against Mayor Bloomberg's ill-named gun control front group, and look forward to seeing more of her during the 2010 primary season.
There are still five* other Republican mayors, in Cuyahoga County alone, who are listed as part of Bloomberg's MAIG:
Jack Bacci - Cuyahoga Heights
Greg Costabile - Mayfield Heights
John Licastro - Bratenahl
Beryl Rothschild - University Heights
All told, the MAIG website lists fifty Ohio mayors as members (it'll be forty-nine once they remove Marlene Anielski). While some, such as Mayors Donald Plusquellic (Akron), Mark Mallory (Cincinnati), Frank Jackson (Cleveland), and Mike Coleman (Columbus) are known to be avowed anti-self-defense politicians, there are many others who, like Anielski, have likely been misled by Bloomberg into believing the group shares their values.
If your mayor is a member of MAIG, and/or if you'd like to help inform more MAIG members of the groups' true anti-rights nature, please contact them today! (Click here to download a letter the NRA provides to those who wish to contact their mayors.)
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms safety and concealed carry instructor.
*Correction: this article originally listed Democrat Mayor Kevin Patton, a MAIG member from Solon, as a Republican. We regret the error.