Shoot Him An E-Mail
Michael Coleman, mayor of Columbus, Ohio, deserves an "atta boy" e-mail from all of us for supporting a ban on assault weapons. In return for his efforts, those warm and cuddly folks at the NRA have pulled out their 2007 convention, costing Columbus businesses $15 - $20 million.
This (the NRA) is the same group who lacked the good manners to stay out of Denver following the Columbine shootings even after city leaders asked them to move their convention. Maybe a good old-fashioned shoot-out would lure the NRA back.
"When freedom comes back to Columbus," said NRA Executive Vice Prez Wayne LaPierre, "we will come back to Columbus" but not, apparently, until they can bring their semiautomatic rifles with pistol grips and detachable magazines.
The NRA would have lost a bundle in exhibitor fees because the banned weapons couldn't be sold during the three-day convention. And the organization really doesn't like it when local municipalities make their own gun laws. Forty states (mostly with the help of the NRA) have passed "pre-emptive" laws which disallow local firearm legislation. Ohio's state constitution strongly supports local control and, since Mr. Coleman has his eyes on the governor's seat, the NRA has a lot at stake in Columbus.
The Ohio Commission on the Prevention of Injury says firearms are responsible for 57% of all homicides and suicides in Ohio. If you are an African American male between the ages of 20-29 living in an urban area, you are the largest target for firearm violence in Ohio. It's easy for affluent white males like LaPierre to see gun control as a restriction on freedom, but for inner city residents, gun restrictions are a public health issue -- or, in the words of the Bush Administration, necessary to protect a "culture of life."
So, tell Columbus city officials you support their right to make the best decisions for their citizens (and maybe encourage your professional organization to hold their next convention in beautiful downtown Columbus).
You can write Mayor Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Atta boy, Mike.