Mountain View Mayor John Inks has declined a request to join a coalition of over 1,000 mayors across the country that want gun law reforms. The group was co-founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Inks declined the request in an email on Tuesday after he was asked at the Sept. 3 council meeting to join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition by Mountain View resident Josh Wolf and Community Health Awareness Council director Monique Kane.
"When Newtown (Conn.) happened, I thought finally Congress would act and it didn't," Kane told the council, adding that she was convinced that a push for gun law reforms has to start locally.
Inks' response, which came a week later in an email, was in stark contrast to that of Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff, who enthusiastically joined the coalition on August 5, according to reports, breaking normal protocol to sign onto the cause immediately after speakers raised the issue.
Inks was silent about the request for several days, turning down an offer to meet with Wolf about the coalition. He eventually wrote in an email to Wolf and the Voice that he would not join the coalition, calling the group's positions "fundamentally anti-gun."
In a set of seven principles that mayors are being asked to sign onto, the group advocates for being tougher on law-breaking gun dealers, increased efforts to trace guns, expanded background checks and new laws that would "keep lethal, military-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines off our streets."
"Mayors Against Illegal Guns are advocating heavier firearms restrictions and regulation instead of actually reducing gun violence," wrote Inks, a retired aerospace engineer who is known for his libertarian positions. "MAIG principles are silent on legal gun rights such as ownership and are fundamentally anti-gun. Like MAIG, gun owners are generally wholly law abiding and already against gun crimes. I'm not joining the MAIG coalition."
Inks added that he supports "gun rights, firearms safety and education advocacy," in another email to Wolf.
He posed Wolf a question: "What's the difference between being against illegal guns and other illegal activities or crimes? What meaning would 'Mayors Against Illegal Crimes' have?"
In response, Wolf wrote, "The key distinction is between being against illegal guns and being against all guns. The 74 percent of NRA members who support expanding background checks for gun purchases agree that this policy would not infringe on their legal gun rights," he said, adding that a loophole in existing law needs to be closed that allows guns to be purchased at gun shows without a background check.
"I believe that standing against illegal guns is important because of the 30,000 gun deaths every year in this country."
Inks did not respond to the Voice's request for an interview on the subject.