Memo from the Mayor |
Mayor Donald J. Baumgarten
To my fellow citizens:
As Mayor of Castle Shannon it is my responsibility to ensure the safety of our community.
To that end, when the opportunity came up to sign on as a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns . . .
a coalition dedicated to calling attention to the scourge of gun violence, fueled by illegal guns,
across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and America . . . the answer was yes.
The organization is unique because of its extremely narrow focus on illegal guns. The vast
majority of crimes committed with guns are committed by people who are not legally allowed
to possess firearms. They are either convicted felons, underage or for another reason deemed a
danger to society and barred from possessing firearms. But still, each year, more than 1,200
Pennsylvanians are shot and killed – including 18 Pennsylvania law enforcement officers in the last
seven years alone.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns is also unique in its dedication to upholding the Second Amendment
right to bear arms – and its commitment to seek remedies to gun violence that do not infringe upon
this crucial right. Every study indicates that the problem is not guns themselves, but the dangerous,
prohibited persons who can readily gain access to them.
In fact, Mayors Against Illegal Guns should be
commended for the organized effort that is under way to deal with gun violence in our communities.
Thanks to Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the leadership of local municipalities, many municipalities
in the state, including the City of Pittsburgh, have passed ordinances or resolutions to rid our streets of illegal guns.
Also, misleading charges have been made regarding “the truth about Mayors Against Illegal
The truth is this: Upholding the Second Amendment right to bear arms and apprehending
those who traffic, possess, or use illegal guns are not mutually exclusive. And as a mayor, it is my
duty to call attention to threats to our community. In joining the coalition, I signed an explicit statement
* Punish criminals who possess, use, or traffic illegal guns.
* Hold accountable irresponsible gun dealers who knowingly sell to straw purchasers.
* Oppose federal efforts to restrict cities’ access to trace data that is essential to effective enforcement,
or to interfere with the ability of the ATF to combat illegal gun trafficking.
* Work to develop and use technologies that aid in detection and tracing of illegal guns.
* Support local, state and federal legislation targeting illegal guns.
* The coalition has never deviated from that mission, and we never will. If this group were ever
to support a policy that would violate my personal right to bear arms for any reason, tradition,
hunting or protection, I'd be the first mayor to leave.
Until that moment, it is an honor to be one of more than 100 mayors in Pennsylvania who have
the courage and fortitude to stand up for their convictions.
Mayor Donald Baumgarten