A national coalition called Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which includes Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, is facing criticism from a Georgia gun advocacy group.
In an e-mail, the nonprofit Georgia Gun Owners Inc. blasts the group and says the 12 mayors in Georgia who are part of the group are “actively scheming in Georgia to greatly curtail our rights.”
In an e-mailed response to The Augusta Chronicle, Copenhaver said he’s been a hunter his entire life and a gun owner, “so to say that I’m anti-gun would seem to me to be completely misleading, but they didn’t bother to call me to discuss the matter.”
Copenhaver also said the mass e-mail sent out to gun owners around the state asks for donations several times.
“I guess their stance would mean that they are taking a position of advocating for illegal guns, which doesn’t make much sense to me,” he said.
In the e-mail from the Georgia gun group, Political Director D.R. Leonard said the coalition’s name is “deceitful” and that it’s clear the purpose is to “make guns illegal, period.”
A message from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino on the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Web site says that “we all agree on the goal: protecting the rights of Americans to own guns, while fighting to keep criminals from possessing guns illegally.”
Richmond County sheriff’s Capt. Scott Gay said Thursday that typically it’s not the people who lawfully possess guns that give law enforcement trouble but criminals who acquire weapons on the street or through straw purchases.
“That’s who we have a problem with,” he said.
In response to a request for comment, Leonard called for Copenhaver’s resignation from the group and said “the members and supporters of Georgia Gun Owners have a responsibility – to bring to light anti-gun associations and positions of elected officials in our state.”
Copenhaver said Leonard is “purposely forwarding misinformation regarding me personally and I don’t believe that his letter deserves a response.”
Statement from Georgia Gun Owners political director D.R. Leonard
"Mayor Copenhaver has aligned himself with one of the most anti-gun groups in the country -- MAIG. They frequently hold press conferences on Capitol Hill in Washington with the most anti-gun members of the Congress who introduce bills which pose a danger to the rights of gun owners. MAIG has recently attacked "Stand Your Ground" laws, including Georgia's. They have also supported nationwide gun owner databases. Anti-gun Mayor Rahm Emmanuel of Chicago is a member as well as the anti-gun mayors of Washington, DC, New York City, New Orleans, Atlanta and scores of others. The members and supporters of Georgia Gun Owners have a responsibility -- to bring to light anti-gun associations and positions of elected officials in our state. We have done so with Mayor Copenhaver and the 11 other members of the anti-gun MAIG group. We call on all of those mayors, including Mayor Copenhaver, to resign from MAIG as soon as possible."
E-mail concerning Deke Copenhaver from Georgia Gun Owners
Last week, I informed you that 12 Georgia mayors were members of a dangerous anti-gun group, MAIG, funded by billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
This anti-gun group has openly attacked "Stand Your Ground" laws, frequently appears with anti-gun members of Congress in Washington, has run "stings" at gun shows (their goal is to END private sales), calls Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel a member and has openly supported a strict national gun owner database.
One of these Georgia mayors, Deke Copenhaver of Augusta, caught wind of our email and responded to a supporter of Georgia Gun Owners by defending his association with the group.
He even said that folks should "look into" Georgia Gun Owners.
Well, Mayor Copenhaver, we'd be happy to tell you about our group -- we're more than 20,000 members and supporters strong and our job is to call out elected officials in our state who have openly aligned with anti-gun groups and positions.
If you do one thing for gun rights in Georgia today, please call Mayor Deke Copenhaver at once.
Tell him you don't agree with his association with one of the most left-wing, anti-gun organizations in the country and that you are calling on him to resign from MAIG immediately.
Georgia Gun Owners doesn't exist to kiss the backside of politicians . . . we exist to attempt to make them do what is right.
Mayor Deke Copenhaver is wrong to align himself with one of the most hostile organizations to gun owners in this country.
If you agree with Georgia Gun Owners, please make your call at once.
Georgia Gun Owners