Protest highlights mayor's stance on gun control | October 25, 2013 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - October 25, 2013

Protest highlights mayor's stance on gun control

Inks is focus of Castro Street march in support of group against illegal guns

by Daniel DeBolt

Nearly 40 people gathered at the downtown Caltrain Station on Thursday to protest Mayor John Inks' refusal to join a large coalition of mayors calling for "common sense" gun control measures.

As restaurant-goers dined along Castro Street's sidewalks, the group delivered its message with the chant, "Mayor Inks, your position stinks!" all the way down Castro Street and then in front of City Hall.

"No mayor should be able to get away without joining Mayors Against Illegal Guns," said organizer Josh Wolf, a high school teacher. "The Palo Alto and Sunnyvale mayors both joined the coalition. I want Mayor Inks to represent his constituents and sign on as well."

Inks refused to join Mayors Against Illegal Guns — a coalition of over 1,000 mayors across the country — in September, calling the group "fundamentally anti-gun" and refusing to have a discussion with advocates for the coalition.

"Inks has declined to have this discussion with us, so we're taking the discussion to him," Wolf said before the march.

Wolf says the group's demands are not anti-gun, often citing the fact that even 74 percent of the National Rifle Association's members support increased background checks for gun buyers. It was said at Thursday's rally that millions of guns are purchased every year without background checks, at gun shows or in states that do not require them.

"Ninety-two percent of Americans support background checks, and we can't even get a vote in Congress," Wolf said. "That 8 percent has an outsized influence."

MAIG has asked mayors to sign onto seven principles, including 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."

Former City Council candidate Jim Neal and his wife staged a two-person counter protest when the march reached City Hall, with Neal holding a sign that said, "What part of the second amendment don't you understand?"

"The Second Amendment specifically states that Congress shall pass no law prohibiting the right of people to keep and bear arms," Neal said, adding that "I believe the purpose of this group is to make all guns illegal."

He added that it was founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, "more of the same" from a mayor who pushed to make large soft drinks illegal in New York City.

"I'm not for having guns in criminals' hands either," Neal said, adding that passing new laws wouldn't help. "Criminals don't obey the law, that's why they're criminals."

Several of those in attendance were behind a campaign to pass a gun control measure in Sunnyvale called Measure C. If passed next month, the measure would require all ammunition sold in Sunnyvale to be tracked, would ban the sale of magazines holding more than 10 rounds, would require safe storage of guns and require that lost or stolen guns be reported within 48 hours.

The Sunnyvale resident spearheading Measure C, Don Veith, said he hoped the measure would inspire other cities to take such action, noting that San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles have already passed similar laws.

"There are cities all over California that have versions of what we're asking voters to do," he said.

Veith noted that Sunnyvale's mayor has been instrumental in placing Measure C on November's ballot.

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