Both sides in the gun control debate say the best way to curtail gun violence is simply “to enforce the laws on the books.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says that it is in their interpretations of that goal where the two camps differ greatly. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has called for better federal funding and improved coordination between agencies to make enforcement of gun laws a possibility.
Gun lobby groups and pro-gun lawmakers contend the mayors’ group has a more sinister agenda. They say the mayors place the burden of tracking illegal guns on law-abiding gun owners and, ultimately, aim to ban all firearms. The mayors’ group has helped defeat legislation that would allow gun owners with concealed-weapons permit in one state to carry a concealed firearm in another. The mayors’ group wants to make federal trace data about guns used in crimes available to law enforcement and to make summary reports about trace data available to the public — another sore point for foes. “They are waging war against law abiding gun owners,” said NRA spokeswoman Rachel Parsons. “It’s normally not the legal owners of guns that we encounter” when investigating a crime, said Pittsburgh Police Commander Thomas Stangrecki.