Apr 9 2009
12:24 pm

A.C. Kleinheider looks at Knoxville Mayor and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam's "that was then, this is now" relationship with Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

Haslam, like Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, can be independent and high-mindedly moderate all he wants but there are litmus tests and Haslam’s blue paper better come up red after it gets dropped into that conservative acid or there’s gonna be problems.

In defense of what some might perceive as pandering to the NRA crowd, Mayor Haslam says the Mayors Against Illegal Guns group, which claims more than 300 mayors from across America as members, went off in a different direction after he joined.

Looking over their website, I don't see much if any policy shift. And while some of their proposals may not sit well with gun enthusiasts, who generally oppose any and all gun regulation, the group certainly isn't proposing anything as remotely radical as banning guns.

It would seem that Mayor Haslam may have overreacted to pressure from some fringe elements, putting himself between the rock of individual freedoms and the hard place of the common good with regard to the growing problem of gun violence.

And he's never explained specifically which Mayors Against Illegal Guns policies he disagrees with, other than Mayor Bloomberg being involved.

UPDATE: Mayor Haslam is reported to have recently joined the NRA. A copy of a letter at that link also suggests that Mayor Haslam only recently resigned from Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Hugh Willett's picture

Who says gun violence is

Who says gun violence is "growing" check the FBI crime statistics instead of watching the Commie News Network

hugh willett's picture

You sound coherent enough

You sound coherent enough that you'll probably get lost on the way to the FBI site and find yourself at the Brady site "by mistake"

Here's the link to the DOJ gun crime statistics.


According to the department of justice, crimes involving guns plummeted between 1993 and 2005. The slight rise after 2005 does not put us anywhere near the levels of the 1990's. For that reason I would suggest that the idea that gun crime is rising quickly would not be supported by the facts.

R. Neal's picture

The slight rise after

The slight rise after 2005


Clinton enacted a program in 1994 that put 100,000 cops on the streets.
Bush cut funding for the program in 2004.

The assault weapons ban also went into effect in 1994.
It expired in 2004.

Anyway, where are the statistics beyond 2005?

Oh, right, they are at the FBI site (where you told us to go, not the DOJ site you quoted).


2000: 8493 people murdered using firearms (65.6%)
2007: 10,086 people murdered using firearms (68%)

In 2007, the most frequent type of incident leading to murder by firearm was an argument, followed by a robbery. The most frequently used type of firearm was a handgun. There were only 388 justifiable homicides committed by firearms.

Hugh Willett's picture

Gun murders

It doesn't really matter whether the numbers come from a DOJ or FBI site. The numbers are growing slowly even in the most prejudiced context you can report ie. one single year to year. Look at the the longer trend and you will find that we are actully murdering fewer people with firearms per capita than we were 20 years ago. All the time, the number of guns was growing and growing. I think the "war on guns" has been successful enough. Why not move on?

The threat of "gun violence" is exaggerated when compared to other threats to our health and safety, like maybe diabetes. Why don't the politicians who are determined to mess with our lives move on to banning "assault sodas" and MacDonalds hamburgers that have no known sporting purpose other than to kill children slowly through obesity.

lovable liberal's picture


Anyone who calls CNN "Commie News Network" immediately reduces his credibility to Rush Limbaugh levels.

Liberty and justice for all.

My home

hugh willett's picture

That would be a step up

Reducing my credibility to Rush's??? heck, I'd be happy to have half the credibility of Rush Limbaugh, especially if it came with half his money.

Actually, I think comparing my credibility to Rush Limbaugh's is like one of those apples to apples comparisons, maybe apples to watermelons in this case.

Rush has a much bigger audience than I do.

And, I don't think I'm picking up many new friends around this place.

citizenX's picture


Something tells me that you hadn't really intended to "pick up many new friends around this place." I, for one, am not a fan of your patron saint Rush Limbaugh. But you're right, he does kind of remind me of a watermelon. And, I guess you'll be easy to spot...just look for an apple carrying a gun, huh?

I had a pet watermelon once but a "watermelon hater" jumped out of a dark alley and shot it. I tried to save it, but it died from loss of seeds. Very sad.

cafkia's picture

Looks like they snuck one

Looks like they snuck one past you. Only a criminal would be against illegal guns. Keep in mind that it is completely legal for me to decide that I have had my legally acquired gun long enough and to sell it to another citizen. Since I have no federal licenses, I do not have to do the paperwork or wait 7 days or any such thing. If I acquire a gun that way, citizen to citizen, it is completely legal.

I doubt that there are enough folks advocating that felons carry guns, that fully automatic weapons be made more common in the private sector, or that any other laws be broken so that more guns be in more hands, to justify legislation or even a policy position. It is the ultimate in safe positions to say that you are opposed to illegal guns. You might as well say that you oppose puppy stomping or that you support the idea of mother's feeding their babies. It means nothing at all.


It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
  - William G. McAdoo

R. Neal's picture

Looks like they snuck one

Looks like they snuck one past you.

Heh. Good point. So what you're saying is, Mayor Haslam can't even take a safe position against illegal guns, or that even a position against illegal guns is politically untenable in Tennessee.

hugh willett's picture

mayors against gun violence

I think the problem with Mayor's against gun violence is that they are not just against illegal guns. Voters in Tennessee recognize this organization as a left of center, "gun-grabber" group.

The organization, spearheaded by NY's Bloomberg, has advocated a number of laws to reduce gun ownership among law abiding citizens as well as questionable investigativepractices. They advocate everything from reducing the number of guns that can be purchased in a given time to sending detectives into gun shops in states such as Virginia to try and provoke "straw man " sales.

Bloomberg's crowd is to the left of organizations such as the Brady Campaign, hence they are not popular among voters who are knowledgeable about constitutional rights.

Haslam could court the law and order crowd without offending the gun owners by identifying himself with and supporting more centrist groups such as Association of Chiefs of Police.

If I was the type to be skeptical of politicians I'd bet Haslam wanted to join a big city mayor's club and this is the only one of such groups that will accept anybody from anywhere as long as they buy into the gun grabber philosophy.

Kind of reminds be of that old saying about not wanting to join any kind or organization that would admit someone like me.. or something like that.

Factchecker's picture

Not to mention the ammunition shortage

Who says gun violence is "growing" ...[?]

I thought it was the fringe on the far right. Somebody punked Freddy Smith at WDVX yesterday when they called him to provide a "Thing That Makes You Go Hmmm," which he promptly passed on, stating that ALL violence has TRIPLED since Obama was elected. (!) Freddy apparently believed it but at least gave some cover by attributing it to a downward economy.

MDB's picture


ALL violence has TRIPLED since Obama was elected.

I doubt that there's even any official statistics yet. (And yes, I realize factchecker was just quoting that, not claiming that.)

Voting is like driving. If you want to go backwards, select R. If you want to go forward, select D.

KC's picture

I don't think Mayor Haslam

I don't think Mayor Haslam should have joined the NRA.

A person should be able to make the case that he supports the 2nd Amendment without having to join an interest/lobbying group like the NRA.

Does this mean now that if you say you support liberty for all, you're expected to join the ACLU?

citizenX's picture


Hope we don't see a photo of Mayor Haslam strolling out of the Tennessee Woods carrying several rabbits by the ears....or perhaps a few birds strung together.

We all know how silly John Kerry looked when he went duck hunting in his designer duds. If Haslam wants to join the NRA that one thing...but if he starts killing little critters just to prove he is a hunter I would have to take exception to that ploy.

I'd rather see him emerge from the woods carrying a camera hanging around his neck. Better to photograph innocent animals than to hunt them down with a gun. I am dissappointed in the Mayor's position on the gun issue.

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