Recently, I became aware that our Saranac Lake village mayor represents our community as a member of an organization that is misleadingly named: Mayors Against Illegal Guns. This blatantly anti-Second Amendment group is an organization fronted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Mr. Rabideau's membership cannot be compared to joining the Elks Club, Rotary Club or some other organization where he would be privately representing himself. As a member of this mayors' group, he is representing our community and furthering the political goals of that organization.
I sent a personal and private email to Mayor Rabideau, shared some data about MAIG and respectfully asked him to resign from the group. I told him I would be happy to discuss it further with him if he would like. His response was to take exception to my request, informing me that he supports MAIG and also supports the Second Amendment "100 percent."
My request of Mr. Rabideau was, "As the mayor of the 'Capital of the Adirondacks,' where legal gun ownership is a proud aspect of our traditions and recreation, I ask that you resign from Mayors Against Illegal Guns and reassure the many legal gun owners of our community that you support their Constitutional rights and traditions." Since our mayor claimed to support the Second Amendment "100 percent," I also asked if he belonged to any organizations (like local fish and game clubs, shooting organizations or the NRA) that defend our right to firearms under the Second Amendment. He responded to my question simply: "U.S. Army veteran."
MAIG continues to claim that they are only concerned with "illegal" guns. However, their work to impose new gun restrictions on legal gun owners is quite clear:
-Opposition to concealed carry reciprocity between states: This applies only to legally permitted gun owners and only if all local laws are followed. These are law-abiding gun owners. MAIG opposes the right to self-defense for traveling legal gun owners.
-Legal transport of firearms: If a legal gun owner wishes to carry his firearm on a commercial airline as checked baggage (in a locked case and unloaded), it is permitted. A regulation requiring Amtrak to accept firearms under these same conditions was sponsored by Sen. Wicker, R-Miss. Even the Brady Campaign announced it would not oppose the legislation; MAIG opposed the bill which would support the legal gun owner.
-Mandated microstamping of expended ammunition rounds: A demonstrable failure by any objective measure, this will cost taxpayers large sums of money to implement and brings with it many legal concerns regarding investigative and admissible trial evidence. MAIG continues to support microstamping. The technology is based upon the laser-engraved firing pin of a gun striking the ammunition and marking it before the expended shell is ejected from the firearm. The hope was that police could then pick up the ejected shells on a crime scene and trace the weapon to the criminal. Here are the problems: Firing pins can be removed and modified with a simple file in less than 10 minutes. Expended ammunition of the same caliber from any public shooting range could be picked up and scattered at a crime scene to confuse police and falsely implicate legal gun owners. The stamping is unreliable, subject to variations in ammunition, and the unique microstamp is frequently indecipherable. Both the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners and the University of California-Davis have provided studies concluding that the technology does not work. Thus many police organizations nationwide do not support legislative enactments of microstamping, while, of course, some do. I would suggest that readers explore the political connections between individual police departments and MAIG mayors.
-Repealing the Tiahrt Amendment: The Tiahrt Amendment prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) from releasing gun-tracing data to the public. Rather, such data is shared only with law-enforcement agencies or prosecutors in connection with a specific criminal investigation. Counter to MAIG's effort to repeal, the ATF and the nation's largest law-enforcement organization, the Fraternal Order of Police, support the amendment. Both organizations claim that repealing the amendment would jeopardize ongoing investigations and threaten the lives of undercover law enforcement.
-New restrictions on all private sales of legal firearms at gun shows. MAIG is lobbying for regulations which would impact 2 percent of all guns sold in America, requiring that private individuals now perform background checks on all buyers before selling a firearm. Note that we are not talking about pistols; these are private sellers of long guns. These regulations will drive gun shows, like the one sponsored by our Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club, out of existence.
-Recommends a ban on the importation of all "non-sporting" firearms and ammunition: Who decides what a "non-sporting" firearm is? Is any handgun a "sporting" gun? This is simply another version of the now-expired Brady Bill.
Over the last four years, the United States Supreme Court has made landmark decisions supporting Second Amendment rights (DC v. Heller  and McDonald v. Chicago ). Gun ownership has been on the rise, especially among women. FBI statistics estimate that violent crimes decreased nearly 6 percent between 2009 and 2010, including a 5 percent decrease in the number of murders. This is a 37-year low. New York City's murder rate rose 15 percent even as it boasts some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country.
Mayor Rabideau will most likely defend MAIG by parroting MAIG's untruthful claims that their work is broadly supported by law enforcement and has minimal costs associated with the regulations. He also may praise a few "common sense" regulations like the reporting of lost or stolen firearms. Everyone supports the reporting of lost or stolen firearms. However, these types of legislation need to be structured so that the reporting requirements are reasonable and prudent. Otherwise, legal gun owners may suddenly find themselves labeled criminals. "Reasonable" and "prudent" are not terms that I would associate with MAIG. Again, all these lobbying efforts focus on legal gun owners and have nothing to do with "illegal guns."
Saranac Lake has a long and proud history of hunting and recreational shooting. It is part of our heritage and our economy. More than just a tradition, it is a Constitutional right. Get involved. Publicly and privately ask our mayor to resign from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's MAIG immediately.
Raymond A. Scollin lives in Saranac Lake and is chairman of the village's Republican committee.