Park City leaders target illegal gun trade |

Park City leaders target illegal gun trade

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

Park City leaders have agreed to consider aligning the city with a nationwide group of mayors dedicated to curbing gun violence by targeting the illegal gun trade.

Mayor Dana Williams brought up the topic during a Thursday meeting of the Park City Council, saying that the office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg approached him about the idea that Park City could join the effort. The group is known as Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

The City Council did not endorse or reject Park City’s involvement and agreed to discuss the idea later. The elected officials could decide whether to align the city with the group at a meeting in early March. The mayor’s comments on Thursday were not anticipated, and the City Council did not spend an extensive amount of time discussing the topic.

In an interview afterward, Williams said Bloomberg’s office contacted him in late January. The group involves more than 600 mayors from cities of various sizes, according to its website. None are from Utah.

"It’s trying to exert more control over the illegal gun market in the U.S.," Williams said, adding that the illegal gun trade supplies weapons to drug cartels in Mexico and to criminals in the U.S.

Williams said the group addresses stolen guns that end up on the black market as well as outlawed models of guns. He said the group is not attempting to infringe on constitutional rights.

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"This has absolutely no correlation with Second Amendment rights at all . . . It’s strictly about the illegal trade of guns," he said.

Some of the principles of the group, as outlined on its website, include:

  • punishing people who possess or use illegal guns as well as traffickers in illegal guns
  • targeting and holding accountable "irresponsible gun dealers who break the law by knowingly selling guns" a person who is buying the weapon on behalf of someone who is unable to do so
  • opposing moves by the federal government to restrict a city from information needed to enforce gun laws
  • developing technologies that will assist in detecting and tracing illegal guns

    "As Mayors, we are duty-bound to do everything in our power to protect our residents, especially our children, from harm and there is no greater threat to public safety than the threat of illegal guns," the group says on the website.

    Williams said he anticipates there will be opposition to Park City’s involvement in the group. He expects he will receive phone calls from people worried that aligning Park City with Mayors Against Illegal Guns is a first step toward further controls on guns.

    In an interview, Wade Carpenter, the police chief in Park City, supported the overriding ideals of the group, but he said he had not researched the specific platform of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

    Carpenter said investigators determined a stolen gun was used in a shooting in Park City in early 2010, a rare case of gun violence in the city. He also said the illegal gun trade has become linked with human trafficking and drug trafficking. Carpenter, though, said illegal guns are not commonplace in Park City.