Columbus Mayor Coleman trots out Mayors Against Illegal Guns "study" in latest call to overturn preemption law

by Chad D. Baus and Ken Hanson

A report released by billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control front group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), has received excessive coverage from its willing friends in the media this week, and is being used by Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman as "proof" of the need to overturn Ohio's statewide preemption law that prohibits city governments from enforcing gun control.

But the report is not based upon new, unreleased data. It is the same data and flawed methodology that has been used for years.

From the Chillicothe Gazette (this same article was published in several other Gannett-owned Ohio newspapers):

One in 24 guns transported across state lines and used in the commission of a crime was originally bought in Ohio, according to a new report by a gun-control group.

But per capita statistics from "Trace the Guns" also show Ohio bucks the trend when it comes to the report's premise that slack gun laws lead to greater numbers of "crime guns."

Gun-rights supporters in Ohio assailed the report as promoting a flawed approach to reducing gun use in crimes.

Nationally, 43,254 guns recovered at crime scenes in 2009 and traced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were found in a state other than where they were purchased. Just 10 states, including Ohio -- which contributed 1,806 guns -- supplied nearly half of the guns that crossed state lines.

The report, issued by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an advocacy group spearheaded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, argues there is a "strong association" between state laws governing the sale and ownership of guns and the number of firearms that later will be involved in crimes in other states.

However, Ohio, which has among the least stringent gun-control laws in the nation, fares better than most states when it comes to so-called "crime guns" exported per capita.

Just less than 15.6 crime guns per 100,000 residents originally were bought in Ohio but later involved in crimes in other states in 2009, according to the report. That ranks the state 27th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The national average is 14.1.

...Ohio, according to the mayors coalition, has only one of the 10 gun-control laws they identified as most important -- a requirement to inform law enforcement of stolen or lost firearms -- on the books.

Regulations mandating background checks for handguns purchasers at gun shows and prohibiting possession by violent misdemeanor offenders are two examples of laws that other states -- but not a majority -- have adopted.

Ohio is one of 18 states with one or fewer of these laws in place. The 10 states that supply guns at the highest rates have passed only 1.6 of these regulations on average, while the 10 strictest states average is 8.4, according to the report.

Bloomberg special adviser Arkadi Gerney is quoted as saying "Ohio is a little above the national average (by per capita crime gun exports), but it's a worse than average as far as how many laws it has in place. That makes it something of an outlier."

Leadership at the Buckeye Firearms Association disputed the report's connection between crime guns and state gun laws, pointing to California and New York.

Jim Irvine, chairman, and Ken Hanson, legislative chairman, of the gun-rights organization, noted ATF data shows that in those two states, which have the strictest gun-control laws in the nation, an overwhelming majority of seized and traced guns were bought within their borders. In other words, guns being funneled in from states with looser restrictions weren't to blame.

"If we can stop criminals from buying guns anywhere, anyhow, yeah, we should be doing it," Irvine said. "But it's a nonsense argument that our laws are to blame for that."

Hanson said limitations in some states are so Draconian that guns categorized as "crime guns" may have been owned by otherwise law-abiding residents. Sticking to federal guidelines on gun ownership would be the best way to reduce crime, he added.

"If these mayors want to lower their gun-crime rates, they should immediately, tomorrow, make it legal for anyone who may own a gun under federal law to carry a gun," Hanson said.

In coverage of the MAIG report, Columbus media are noting that as MAIG's Ohio leader, Columbus Mayor Coleman is calling for a statewide preemption law prohibiting passage or enforcement of local gun control laws to be overturned.

From The Columbus Dispatch:

Coleman said that Ohio needs "common-sense initiatives" that include local authority to regulate guns.

The report, which examined 2009 data from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, listed Ohio as the source of guns in crimes committed in all but three states last year. Guns used to commit crimes in Ohio came from all but two states.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a national group that Coleman leads in Ohio, produced the report.

Columbus banned assault weapons, licensed gun dealers and prohibited people from carrying concealed weapons in city parks until a state law took effect in March 2007, wiping out all local gun rules. Supporters said the state should have sole power over such issues to eliminate a patchwork of local ordinances.

Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, called local gun laws "useless at best" because they were rarely enforced against people committing serious crimes.

"Where is his leadership to go after the real problems?" he said of Coleman. "What they're failing to focus on is the criminal."

Irvine dismissed the mayors' report. Ohio was listed as the sixth-biggest source of guns used in out-of-state crimes last year, but it was joined by California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and other populous states.

Buckeye Firearms Association Central Ohio Chair Linda Walker was interviewed about Mayor Coleman's remarks on WCMH (NBC Columbus):

The simple fact is that the ATF trace data provides no actionable insight into the source of guns used by criminals. Consider New York, Illinois and California, for instance, states the mayors feel are being "inundated" with "crime guns." These states all have draconian gun laws, to the point where few to any people legally own firearms, even in their homes. These states are held up by the mayors as examples of states with appropriate gun laws.

New York could not determine where 47% of the recovered firearms came from. They did determine that 18% of the recovered guns came from inside New York itself. 80% of the recovered, traceable guns had a time to crime in excess of three years and had an average time to crime of almost 13 years. So of the recovered "crime guns" 60% either could not be traced or came from within New York, and of the remaining 40%, four out of five had a time to crime outside of three years (their arbitrary indicator that a gun had been trafficked.)

And what does NY consider a "crime gun?" Looking at the data, 653 recovered guns were identified as being used in violent crime. By contrast, almost double that number (1,153) was reported as a "found gun" and roughly nine times (4,949) that number were simply people who illegally possessed a gun. Given New York has largely removed the ability of their citizens to be armed, it is not surprising so many people "illegally" possessed a gun. Is a gun that is "found" a "crime gun," as the Mayors claim? Someone who is merely possessing a gun without an impossible-to-obtain license - is that a crime gun?

Not only does this not establish causation, it doesn't even establish correlation. It is 100% as valid and provable to state that New York has a high gun crime rate simply because they deny their citizens the ability to legally own and carry guns. AND AT LEAST THOSE STUDIES HAVE BEEN PEER REVIEWED.

California was able to determine the source of 50.6% of the recovered firearms. California was the source of 72.5% of the traceable firearms. 80.8% had a time to crime in excess of 3 years with an average of almost 14 years. 2,864 recovered guns were identified as being used in violent crime; by contrast, 19,702 were identified as illegal possession, found or health/safety pickups. Again, in a state that has largely disarmed its citizens, are these guns truly "crime guns?"

Buckeye Firearms will oppose all gun control measures proposed by the Mayors, as these proposals/laws have no impact on crime rates. The crime problems and roots are well known and stable. If these mayors want to lower their gun crime rates, they should immediately, tomorrow, make it legal for anyone who may own a gun under federal law to carry a gun.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman. Ken Hanson is the Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair.


Is YOUR Mayor a member* of MAIG?

*The following list of more than 60 mayors appeared on the MAIG website September 28, 2010. However, it is important to keep in mind that MAIG has previously been caught listing mayors who never agreed to join the group, or listing people who aren't even mayors. Be polite when you call - some of the people below may not realize they are on this list, or may not be aware of the true intentions of this gun control group.

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.)

Mayor Dan Pillow
Addyston, OH

Mayor Donald Plusquellic
Akron, OH

Mayor Toni E. Middleton
Alliance, OH

Mayor Lynn E. McGill
Aurora, OH

Mayor Merle Gorden
Beachwood, OH

Mayor Daniel Pocek
Bedford, OH

Mayor Fletcher Berger
Bedford Heights, OH

Mayor John M. Brennan
Bexley, OH

Mayor John Licastro
Bratenahl, OH

Mayor Samuel Alai
Broadview Heights, OH

Mayor John Grogan
Canal Fulton, OH

Mayor William J. Healy II
Canton, OH

Mayor Mark Mallory
Cincinnati, OH

Mayor Chuck Taylor
Circleville, OH

Mayor Frank Jackson
Cleveland, OH

Mayor Edward Kelley
Cleveland Heights, OH

Mayor Michael Coleman
Columbus, OH

Mayor David Sharrock
Crestline, OH

Mayor Gary Leitzell
Dayton, OH

Mayor Gary Norton
East Cleveland, OH

Mayor Bill Cervenik
Euclid, OH

Mayor Theodore Shannon
Fairfax, OH

Mayor Dennis E. Shaffer
Fort Shawnee, OH

Mayor Terry Overmyer
Fremont, OH

Mayor Joseph C. Hubbard
Glendale, OH

Mayor Alan Zaffiro
Golf Manor, OH

Mayor Ray E. DeGraw
Grandview Heights, OH

Mayor Larry Haver
Hicksville, OH

Mayor Richard Zink
Hillsboro, OH

Mayor William Currin
Hudson, OH

Mayor Jerry Fiala
Kent, OH

Mayor Deborah Neale
Lakeline, OH

Mayor Michael Kolomichuk
Lakemore, OH

Mayor Jo Ann Toczek
Linndale, OH

Mayor Patricia A. Fallot
Louisville, OH

Mayor Joseph Cicero Jr
Lyndhurst, OH

Mayor Donald Kuchta
Macedonia, OH

Mayor Cornelia M. Dettmer
Manchester, OH

Mayor Bruce Rinker
Mayfield Village, OH

Mayor Gary Starr
Middleburg Heights, OH

Mayor James B. Waller
Minerva, OH

Mayor Dominic Chappano
Mingo Junction, OH

Mayor Susan Renda
Moreland Hills, OH

Mayor Mike Porter
Mt. Gilead, OH

Mayor Bob Diebold
Newark, OH

Mayor Daniel R. Brooks
North College Hill, OH

Mayor David L. Koontz
Norton, OH

Mayor Kathy Mulcahy
Orange Village, OH

Mayor David T. Handwerk
Orrville, OH

Mayor Martin Zanotti
Parma Heights, OH

Mayor Bruce Akers
Pepper Pike, OH

Mayor Daniel Ursu
Richmond Heights, OH

Mayor Earl M. Leiken
Shaker Heights, OH

Mayor John Smith
Silverton, OH

Mayor Georgine Welo
South Euclid, OH

Mayor Matthew Brett
South Russell, OH

Mayor Domenick Mucci Jr.
Steubenville, OH

Mayor Arthur Scott
Streetsboro, OH

Mayor Michael P. Bell
Toledo, OH

Mayor Scott D. Washburn
Upper Sandusky, OH

Mayor Louis Ehmer
Van Wert, OH

Mayor Michael J. O'Brien
Warren, OH

Mayor Barry Porter
Wyoming, OH

Mayor Jay Williams
Youngstown, OH

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