Is Mayor Bloomberg adding mayors to his gun control front group without permission?

By Chad D. Baus

With each passing day since Walton Hills, OH Mayor Marlene Anielski notified Buckeye Firearms Association of her decision to resign from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control front group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), it appears the ripple that began with her resignation has the potential to grow into a tsunami.

Last week, Madiera Beach, FL Mayor Patricia Shontz notified Buckeye Firearms Association of her decision to resign from MAIG, and on the same day Brunswick,OH Mayor Dale Strasser notified the National Rifle Association that he too wanted to have his name taken off the groups' list of members.

News that a still another mayor resigned from the group last week is raising questions of how many of these mayors got on Bloomberg's list in the first place.

From the (Warsaw, IN) Times-Union story entitled "Wiggins Denies Being Member Of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition":

Warsaw Mayor Ernie Wiggins wants to clear his name.

Wednesday he said he is not a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.

Wiggins contacted the Times-Union Wednesday morning stating he received inquiries from local residents about whether or not he was a member of the coalition.

He requested his secretary, Michelle Bormet, on his behalf Wednesday morning, to fill out information on the coalition's Web site to remove his name from the coalition membership and no longer send him e-mails or information. Wiggins' photo and name was on the site Wednesday, but was not on the site this morning.

Wiggin's secretary told the newspaper she received a confirmation e-mail on September 9 from coalition officials stating Wiggins' name had been removed from the coalition membership list.

"First of all, I respect anyone's right to own a gun, and I think it is within every citizen's right to do that, and I would never support anything that restricts that ability," Wiggins said.

He said on the surface, who can argue against illegal guns, but that is not the issue.

"I do respect local people who are members of the National Rifle Association who have asked me to remove my name from the membership, and I have done so," Wiggins said.

What Wiggins told the Times-Union next adds fuel the question of just how many of these mayors are getting on the list in the first place.

"I'll be honest when I say I don't recall signing up for the coalition's membership and obviously I didn't realize what it was all about," Wiggins said.

He said he originally signed up to be on the coalition's e-mail list to follow its information, but did not agree to become a coalition member.

Wiggins said he owns a shotgun and has hunted in the past, but does not own a handgun and doesn't have a permit to carry one.

When Wiggins Wednesday was asked how his name and photo got on the coalition's Web site, he said he had been receiving e-mails from the group for some time.

"Frankly, I don't recall if I responded to the e-mails when they e-mailed to ask me if I wanted to continue to receive the e-mails," Wiggins said. "All of a sudden I am a member of this organization, and frankly on the surface the organization sounds innocent, who's not against illegal guns?"

Wiggins said he didn't think too much about the e-mails until he received a phone call from a former classmate last week informing him that his name is being associated with the organization.

Wiggins' comments mirror Madiera Beach, FL Mayor Patricia Shontz's, who in her MAIG resignation letter indicated that she "truly do not recall exactly how I even became a MAIG" member.

They also mirror information I have received regarding Brunswick, OH Mayor Dale Strasser. A constituent of Mayor Strasser's has told me he has knowledge that the city manager may have signed the request to join the group, rather than the mayor himself. That report still has to be verified. [UPDATE: Mayor Strasser has confirmed this version of events, and copied us on his letter requesting that he no longer be listed as a member of MAIG, as well as documented proof that his city manager was the person who signed up, proving MAIG was using his name without permission.]

These revelations beg the question - just how many of the approximately 450 mayors listed as members of MAIG got on the list by similar indirect or unintentional methods?

What we do know is that many mayors are not aware of the true purpose of the gun control front group, which spends its time and money attempting to make gun ownership more difficult for law-abiding citizens. And we know that when they are informed by constituents about the true nature of the group, many mayors choose to resign.

And that's where you come in. Is your mayor on MAIG's list?

There are still five* other Republican mayors, in Cuyahoga County alone, who are listed as part of Bloomberg's MAIG:

Bruce Akers - Pepper Pike
Jack Bacci - Cuyahoga Heights
Greg Costabile - Mayfield Heights
John Licastro - Bratenahl
Beryl Rothschild - University Heights

Nearly fifty mayors have resigned from this gun control front group. After the removal of Mayors Anielski and Strasser, the MAIG website still lists forty-eight Ohio mayors as members. 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 and Strasser, have likely been misled by Bloomberg into believing the group shares their values, or who may have been put on the list against their will.

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.

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