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    Lazaro joins Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Umstattd considers

    Purcellville Mayor Bob Lazaro is joining more than 800 mayors across the country in pressing for Washington to act on gun violence.

    Lazaro on New Year’s Eve announced he has joined the Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) coalition, a bipartisan group co-founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino in 2006 with just 15 mayor members. In addition to the city and town leaders, more than 900,000 supporters have signed on to the call for more gun control measures, “making it the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country,” according to Lazaro’s office.

    The group is calling for Congress to pass laws requiring every gun buyer in the U.S. to pass a criminal background check; making gun trafficking a federal crime; and banning military-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines..

    “In the wake of the shooting in Newtown, and as a father and as an uncle, signing on to this was a no-brainer,” Lazaro told the Times-Mirror Wednesday.

    On Dec. 14, a gunman shot and killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. The massacre was the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, behind only the 2007 killing spree at Virginia Tech University that left 33 people, including the shooter, dead.

    Mayors Against Illegal Guns (http://www.MayorsAgainstIllegalGuns.org) launched the Demand a Plan campaign (http://www.DemandAPlan.org) as a collaborative effort to plea for Congress to act and debate the issue of firearms. The organization points to massacres like Newtown, Virginia Tech and others, and the stat that an average of 33 people in America will die from guns each day, as evidence stronger gun control measures are needed.

    The National Rifle Association (NRA), with its strong lobby and relatively well-unified membership, has dismissed the notion that less guns are the solution The association has long opposed more stringent gun control.

    “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” NRA President Wayne LaPierre said in December following the Connecticut shooting.

    Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd said that, while she would consider signing the MAIG petition, the measures touched on by the organization largely gloss over the issues raised by the Newtown killings.

    “Sadly missing from the MAIG action plan is any mention of the need to enhance security in our schools and how we will pay for that,” Umstattd said via email. “The NRA has immense fundraising abilities and needs to put them to use in raising money for school systems that need to upgrade their security. As a Life Member of the NRA, I would hope that the organization will take school security as seriously as it takes political campaigns.”

    While Umstattd said she has “tremendous respect for Lazaro,” the Leesburg mayor noted that the guns used in the Newtown killings were legally purchased and owned. Combating gun violence is about more than just pushing for the removal of illegal guns; it’s about parents accepting responsibility for their children, the enforcement of responsible guns laws already in place and better treating and reporting mental illness, Umstattd said.

    “Also missing from the MAIG action plan is any mention of the severe shortage of resources available to families who have mentally disturbed individuals in their homes. These families are left to fend for themselves with no effective level of government support,” the Leesburg mayor noted.

    Asked whether she had any concerns over gun safety in Leesburg, Umstattd said “of course.”

    “[Leesburg is] a safe community with active police involvement in our schools and our community, but Newtown would have been considered safe also,” Umstattd said. “All it takes is one disturbed individual and any community is vulnerable to a horrific tragedy.”

    In Virginia, no state permit is required to purchase or possess a rifle, shotgun or handgun. The state’s so-called “gun show loophole,” in which people can purchase firearms at private gun shows without a background check, has been heavily criticized in the weeks since the Newtown shooting.

    Lazaro agreed that reducing gun violence is about more than just controlling guns, mentioning personal responsibility and adequate mental health care as other important points. Still, in a heavily “pro-gun state like Virginia, there needs to be people willing to have conversations about limiting gun violence.”

    “[The Newtown shooting] was a horrific, horrific disaster,” Lazaro said. “We have to come together to address it.”


    Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Comments

    Congratulations to Leesburg’s mayor for taking a thoughtful and reflective look at the current gun control debate and not giving over to emotion as in the case of her counterpart in Purcellville.  The fact of this entire matter is that no current plan presented by the gun-grabbing, Bloomberg supporting MAIG would have prevented the tragedy in CT, or in Colorado, or even here at VT.  In the case of the CT shooter, he was a mental case who had murdered his own mother, stolen her legally purchased firearms and went on a rampage by breaking into a school.  Not one teacher throwing themselves in front of this madman prevented the tragedy.  No 10 round limit on magazines, no additional registration, and no closing of the so called “gun show loophole” would have prevented the shooting.  What would have prevented the incident could have been better mental care for this person, perhaps an armed professional security officer at the school and of course his mother safely storing the firearms away from the perpetrator.  We already have background checks, ID checks, and a mountain of paperwork every time you purchase a firearm.  Any additional set of restrictions would not stop the criminal, but would hamper the legal owner and undermine and erode our Second Amendment rights.


    @Frank Jameso - On the issue of the 2A and its reading. Do you understand the historical context of militia. It was not the national guard, the NG was created for WW1 in the early 20th century and NG laws state they are not the state militia.

    Militia was not a pre-determined group of folks who were then armed by the government. It was the opposite, militias were formed by on the spot as needed armed volunteers. The government said we need militia, you brought your firearms (and swords, cannons, etc) and came to a volunteer point. They then recorded your name and what you brought and if you had extra they could redistribute to people lacking a weapon and compensate you.

    That is why the 2A is about the people owning firearms so that the state can have militia. Militias were used up until the early 20th century, they could be used today were the need to arise.


    Now onto the hyperbole of citizens vs the military.

    1) America was outgunned in 1776 and the battle of bunker hill was a large force of armed civilians taking a military outpost and stealing all their weapons to better arm the civilians. Same thing happened in Libya during the Arab spring. We had a crazy ex-military guy steal a tank and rampage in the 80s or 90s; lets not act like this is impossible today. There are 50 million armed civilians, 300 million private arms, and only 1 million soldiers, 3 million if reserves and NG are called up.

    2) Why assume the military would side with a government that voids the constitution?

    3) Why even assume the issue would be military vs civilian. Look at the case of Iraq. Saddam had a firm grip on the nation, controlled the people and the military with an iron fist. His son Uday was going around and raping young girls. 6 men lay in wait for him one morning in 1996 with rifles and killed his body guards and thought they killed him but they only injured him badly, in fact he was partly paralyzed from the attack. Private arms are not just about civil war they are about preventing people from abusing authority in fear of angry citizens taking action.


    @ Jeanne
    I get your point, but do you really think citizens armed with hand guns and AR15s is going to stop our Governemnt from exterminating us if they wanted to? They have, like jets, and bombs and stuff. I don’t think they’re worried about our small arms.


    @fedupdude
    I’m no constitution expert, it just seems to not make a whole lot sense when taken a face value. When I read it, it seems like one must be in a militia, but that’s my interpretation which is clearly not the Government’s interpretation.
    @ Oranges
    I still think it’s a bad idea. But you have a good point. If we, as a country, decided to go that route, you’re right. There is nobody better for that job then trained military personnel (assuming, as you said, their mental health checks out). To that extent, if there were a assault weapons ban, I’d be ok with a provision allowing them for current and former military personnel.


    I think the gun nuts and alos those who think the 2nd Amendment says anything about a right to an assault weapon…when Bob Lazaro shifts to a new position, it means that things have somehow changed and the majority is looking at something in a new way.

    The guy is very good at jumping in front of parades…


    One more thing Germany had gun control laws before Hitler took office and they never took guns away from citizens, the people of that nation never bothered to have higher numbers of private arms. It was just not their thing. The point about registration and the Nazis is a false narrative.


    @Frank Jameso - Have you ever read what is written on the language of the 2A? In short the first part is not the cause it is the result. For the security of the state we need militias, to have militias we need armed citizens and their rights shall not be infringed. That is why the Heller and Chicago cases over turned out right bans on handguns.

    @Jeanne - One thing we can learn from that list is not gun control kills but fascist dictators do. Every 1st world gun owning nation other than ours has licensing and registration of guns and no government atrocities.

    AWB is a useless idea, until we better control the mentally ill mass shootings will continue. The reason other nations have less mass killers than we do is universal health care that gets those who are mentally unstable help but also allows doctors to say this person should not have access to firearms.


    Lazaro sported an Obama sign on his lawn before others spoke to him about what it would do to his political future. He kept the Kaine sign up, however. Hope Lazaro doesn’t need the GOP in the future.


    In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
    In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

    China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

    Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

    Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th century because of gun control: 56 million.


    Thanks to Responsiblegunowner for clearing out the garbage that was injected into this discourse. Too often, these operatives like to toss out terms that they either do not understand…or are totally willing to use to mislead. I also enjoyed a letter to the Leesburg Today reigning in John Flannery for his misleading statements on legal firearms.


    @ Frank If you take unemployed verterans off the street and train them as school police you reduce unemployment and reward veterans for their service. Most veterans have had weapons training so being brought up to speed on the weapons going to be availble should require minimal training. Tests would be required to show that they can handle the job. If you pay them $15 a hour or 30k that’s cheaoper then Bill Fox’s idea of putting safes in the school for guns, training 3 teachers how to use the guns at 50k per school. Just saved 20k per school.


    Dear 2nd Amendment haters:
    MAIG is not bipartisan;
    So-called “assault rifles” we’re banned in 1986;
    No such thing as a “magazine clip”;
    10round mag is arbitrary, I could swap out a mag in a fraction of a second;
    Columbine happened while the so-called assault weapons ban was in place;
    CT was a tragedy committed by a nut, but don’t punish the other 80 million law abiding Americans;
    Where’s the outrage with Hollywood? With the video game industry;
    Where’s the discussion about these crazies on Meds that have FDA black box warnings about the psych Meds these folks are on;


    Really “right honorable”? Are you personally afraid of a rifle because it is black and has the appearance of a military style rifle? Have you ever been in the shop that you mention in Purcellville? (Purcell Guns) Do you own firearms? You would have had to been in that shop if you know what is inside. I, for one, frequently go there and don’t ever recall seeing a “assault weapon on premises”. There are legally sold rifles on display that are developed on the AR platform. Mr. Thompson is a law abiding citizen and a business mainstay in the town on Purcellville. There is something to be said for that in our current economic state. The owner of this store sells under a Federal Firearm License issued by the ATF and only delivers firearms to individuals who have completed the federal and commonwealth forms with a background check conducted by the Virginia State Police. If he wasn’t conducting the proper checks his business would have been shut down by now. Did Eric Holder conduct proper checks prior to authorizing the release of thousands of firearms into the hands of border crossing drug lords in Mexico? Do some real research before making such broad statements. The AR platform rifle serves a valuable purpose here in LoCo and surrounding counties. It is a great way of thinning the coyote population plaguing local dairy farmers. These predators are very crafty and are decimating our livestock population. The AR allows us to take more coyotes at one time and at greater distances with a small .22 cal round when used responsibly. Most of our land was taken in the 90’s due to outlandish growth. I guess your next statement will be that we should leave the coyotes alone and allow them to finally run our dairy farms out of business. Wake up Right Honorable one.


    In Virginia, the local government clowns have no power over gun laws. Bob is just blowing hot air when it comes to this topic. All gun legislative power resides in Richmond.


    Good for Mayor Lazaro - a principled, timely and courageous position. I think the group will be well-served to have Bob’s experienced and thoughtful perspective as part of the effort. It’s good and health to start with a bipartisan dialogue - but even more important to bookend it with logical - and overdue - action…


    I spoke to Bob at length this afternoon. Bob explains his position as not extreme right and not extreme left. I advised that by joining the MAIG he “looks” like and extreme left.  He explained that by joining, he will have a voice within the organization to explain what HE feels is good..  (like background checks for all gun transfers)..  I explained why that is not a good idea (gun registration) and he disagreed with me… so for now.. it looks like Bob will remain a member of MAIG. I told him to keep researching and reviewing their info and tactics and I would gladly hold a “Bob quit the MAIG organization dinner”..  I am sorry to say, I won’t be holding my breath until then.


    Lazaro could start by making sure every gun law is being followed by the gun shop that sits on main street.  There are an awful lot of assault weapons on premises.  Are checks being run?  A caring mayor might look into it.


    @Fred
    Doesn’t it also start with something about a “well regulated militia, being necessary…”. So, what’s the name of your Militia? And which free State does it provide security for?
    @Oranges
    That seems… really expensive. Again, I’m just not sure that this logic of throwing more guns at the problem will work.
    @JL
    Saying that the size of magazine clips is “irreverent” is pretty offensive, particularly to the parents of these school children that were slaughtered, with said magazine clip. I’m guessing you meant “irrelevant”, which is well… not quite true is it? The size of that clip was extremely relevant to those poor kids on that day. Do you expect us to believe that this deranged young man could have exacted the same carnage with a knife? I highly doubt it.


    How about training some of these out of work veterans who have already proved their williness to serve. Train and hire them as school police with a firearm. Naturally they have to undergo tests to make sure they can handle the job but this way you help veterans, unemployment and the security at the schools.


    I won’t give these clowns the time of day. The weapons ban did not work before, so what makes them think it will work now? as for magazine cap. this is totally irreverent to the real issues at hand. I hate when people who do not own a gun open their mouths, bet they can not even load one.


    Straight moxie from the Republican Bob Lazaro allying with Mike Bloomberg.  We shall see how he appeases the gun-rights activists in his “rural” small town.  If he is successful, Republican former State Senator, LG candidate, and Bloomberg ally Jeannemarie Davis needs to take some notes from Bob.


    Lazaro forgets that gun ownership is a (RIGHT) afforded by The Constitution, not a privilege he can dictate the terms of. In any case, this is Virginia and his power is moot over any issue related to guns. Lazaro can go petition the General Assembly and see how far he can get.

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