The former mayors of Albany, Utica and Binghamton knocked Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik in an op-ed today after he criticized Mayors Against Illegal Guns and dropped out of the group.
“We are former mayors of Albany, Utica and Binghamton and served as members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns when Mayor John Tkazyik was a member. We were surprised and disappointed to see in a recent OpEd Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik blatantly mischaracterize the important goals of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the national bipartisan coalition working to make America’s communities safer by cracking down on illegal guns and the criminals who purchase them,” the op-ed in the Poughkeepsie Journal said.
Tkazyik, (left) a Republican, wrote his own op-ed Feb. 5 knocking the group and saying its principles go against his pro-Second Amendment stance. The group was started by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to curb gun violence in cities, but Tkazyik, who is considering a run for state Senate, said the group’s message has become more than that.
“MAIG became a vehicle for Bloomberg to promote his personal gun-control agenda — violating the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and taking resources away from initiatives that could actually work to protect our neighborhoods and save precious lives. Gun control will actually make a bad situation worse,” Tkazyik said.
Here’s the op-ed from the former mayors:
We are former mayors of Albany, Utica and Binghamton and served as members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns when Mayor John Tkazyik was a member. We were surprised and disappointed to see in a recent OpEd Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik blatantly mischaracterize the important goals of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the national bipartisan coalition working to make America’s communities safer by cracking down on illegal guns and the criminals who purchase them (“Mayoral group’s gun agenda is wrong” Feb. 5).
As former mayors of Binghamton, Albany and Utica, we know that a mayor’s most important responsibility is to keep their citizens safe. That’s why we, along with more than 100 other New York mayors, joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The coalition’s top legislative priority is requiring background checks on all gun sales, a policy that New York state enacted last year, but one that 34 other states across the country have not. In those states, criminals can buy a handgun, without a background check, from an unlicensed seller.
Mayor Tkazyik in his OpEd would have you believe otherwise.
Mayor Tkazyik makes false claims about the group, even saying the coalition “intended to promote confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens.”
The fact is Mayors Against Illegal Guns believes that the Second Amendment goes hand in hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people.
It is undeniable that our nation has witnessed far too much gun violence. Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., the Washington Navy Yard, Tucson, Ariz. and our own devastating tragedy in Binghamton are just a few tragic examples. The statistics are clear, every day 33 Americans are murdered with guns — that’s 12,000 people killed with guns every year. That is far too many mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who will not live to see 2015. When faced with those facts, it’s imperative that mayors work together to fight illegal gun sales, which take place in big cities and small towns every day.
The vast majority of gun owners and sellers are responsible citizens. But when our laws do nothing to stop dangerous people from acquiring guns, people die. Reasonable laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people are — as Justice Scalia and the Supreme Court have ruled — entirely consistent with the Second Amendment. And the vast majority of the American people — 90 percent — support our coalition’s push to close the loopholes in the background check system.
Perhaps Mayor Tkazyik had the wool pulled over his eyes by the gun lobby, but our coalition firmly believes that fighting gun violence and protecting the Second Amendment go hand in hand.