Mayor Lawrence J. Morrissey

Monday, July 1st, 2013

ILLINOIS MAYOR SHOWS BACKBONE

When it comes to making a point, it might be hard to find anyone who could do it with quite the splash exhibited in June by Lawrence J. “Larry” Morrissey, the mayor of Rockford, Ill.

This native-born son, first elected to office in 2005, just won re-election in April to a third term, and at a public event about seven weeks later, he announced that he would be applying for a concealed carry permit when the Legislature finally adopts a carry law.

As if that wasn’t enough of a bombshell, the politically independent Morrissey revealed that he had quit the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the gun control group disguised as a mayors’ organization that was founded by anti-gun New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. That got headlines, not for the fact that he resigned from the group, but for what he said in the process.

According to the Rockford Register Star, the hometown newspaper that endorsed his re-election and has covered his political career, Morrissey told an audience, “”The reason why I joined the group in the first place was because I took the name for what it said, against illegal guns.”

He told the crowd that he hadn’t anticipated the Bloomberg group’s focus would turn to banning so-called “assault weapons” or original capacity magazines for those and other firearms.

“As the original mission swayed,” the newspaper quoted him as stating, “that’s when I decided it was no longer in line with my beliefs.”

Morrissey is not the first mayor to leave the MAIG collective. But he certainly did it with style.

Mayor Morrissey’s announcement came coincidentally with a string of embarrassing revelations for the Bloomberg group that left CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb calling on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to launch an investigation. One of the disclosures was that MAIG’s website was owned by the New York City official government server. Translation: City employees were apparently administering the site, on public time at public expense.

This came only a few days after it was revealed that the MAIG “No More Names” anti-gun-rights bus tour was including the names of murder suspects and Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev on their list of “gun violence victims.”

According to the Rockford Register Star, Morrissey is the recipient of death threats. That may not be unusual for a politician, but his approach to the dilemma is not to make a big media splash about banning guns, but to announce that as soon as he is legally able, he’s going to be carrying a gun. How many other chief executives of large cities in Illinois or elsewhere have made that announcement?

“Any doubt that I might have had in my opinions about concealed carry when I first came into office changed quickly as I became an elected official and became very familiar with the types of crimes we’re dealing with,” Morrissey told an audience of about 200 people at a local watering hole and restaurant. “The focus should not be against law-abiding citizens.”

It takes a certain amount of backbone for a public official to essentially tell the world that he is going to be armed at the same time he’s poking one of the wealthiest anti-gunners in the country that he’s finished with the Bloomberg organization.

But Mayor Morrissey appears to have a solid handle on the problem. The majority of gun-related crime in his community, as it is elsewhere, is committed by people who cannot legally own or possess firearms in the first place. The answer to that, he explained, is not cracking down on law-abiding citizens.