Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Reed: 'I'm not going to put my energy' toward Gold Dome gun fight

Posted By on Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Yesterday afternoon, leaders from the NAACP's Atlanta chapter announced a gun buy-back program to celebrate Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday next month.

Mayor Kasim Reed and other public officials were on hand to endorse the Jan. 16 event.

Reed's support of the buy-back wasn't surprising. Last December, he joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of more than 1,000 U.S. mayors who have stood against unnecessary gun violence, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. And he's made improving public safety a top priority of his first term.

But using his considerable clout under the Gold Dome to fight gun bills during the 2014 legislative session? The mayor said he'd steer clear of stepping into the fray. WABE's Jonathan Shapiro reports:

Mayor Reed said current dialogue at the state level is why it's important to support local efforts like the NAACP's buyback initiative. He said local officials have to pick their battles.

"I do not have the capability to stop the gun lobby at the Georgia General Assembly and I'm not going to put my energy there," said Reed. "What I do is try to be constructive and to not give my energies to things I can't change."

He said at the local level that means continuing to build on his first term, during which the city reported fewer murders than it has in a generation. He vowed to continue bolstering Atlanta's police force and building out the city's video surveillance system.

Another potential reason: it'd give a future statewide opponent ample opportunity to paint Reed as an anti-gun activist who felt so strongly about gun issues that he'd walk across the street and argue against loosening Georgia's firearms laws. Even if those laws would affect the city he's been elected to manage. At least two such proposals, one which would allow guns to be carried in churches, college campuses, and unsecured government buildings, are expected to pop back up when state lawmakers convene in 2014.

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