Religious Leaders Bring Market Demand for Gun Safety to Europe
With Public Officials’ Backing, Metro IAF Delegates Seek
European Gun Exporters’ Help in Reducing U.S. Gun Violence
For Immediate Release – March 1, 2014
A delegation of 11 clergy and religious leaders and organizers from six states will embark next week on a “citizens’ trade mission” to Europe to deliver a message to gun manufacturers there: Help solve America’s gun violence problem, and you will reap a larger share of the American firearms market.
The group of Christian and Jewish leaders represents the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro IAF), a network of citizens’ organizations in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
The group will carry the backing of key public officials responsible for purchasing weapons in their jurisdictions, including Mayor Bill Finch of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Sheriff Tom Dart of Cook County, Illinois, and Mayor Steven Fulop of Jersey City, New Jersey.
Their first stop will be March 5-‐6 in Nuremberg, Germany, where Metro IAF will be an exhibitor at one of the world’s largest gun shows for law enforcement www.enforcetac.com/en. The delegation will bring a Request for Information on behalf of several U.S. cities and towns seeking information about manufacturers’ practices and capabilities in key areas related to public safety.
Rabbi Joel Mosbacher of Mahwah, New Jersey, whose grandparents fled Germany during the Holocaust, and whose father was killed with a gun on the streets of Chicago, said that the trip to Nuremberg will be a “trade mission with a sense of personal urgency.”
“For all of us in this delegation, and all of the communities that we represent, gun violence isn’t a set of numbers or a matter of constitutional law,” Mosbacher said. “It’s a set of faces – of people in our families or communities who have been killed or injured while gun rights and gun responsibilities are endlessly debated.”
Metro IAF has launched a national campaign, called Do Not Stand Idly By, to persuade cities, states and the federal government to use their firearms purchasing power to bring about change in the gun industry.
Like several others in the delegation, Bishop Douglas Miles of Baltimore, Maryland has spent decades working to reduce inner-‐city gun violence. “We’ve accomplished many things to make Baltimore a less violent city,” Miles said, “but we’ve also learned that all of the heroic efforts of law enforcement and the community will be limited if we can’t get the gun manufacturers to do their part.”
“The gun manufacturers hold the keys,” “With their help, we could save countless American lives.”
~Bishop Douglas Miles, Baltimore, Maryland
“We look forward to the chance to meet the gun makers in Nuremberg and discuss their capabilities and timetables for implementing some real solutions,” Miles said. “We have some ideas about how they can help stop the flow of illegal guns into our cities, and help stop the shootings of children by children. And we think the companies that do these things will rise to the top in the U.S. market.”
Among the companies present at the EnforceTac trade fair will be three European-‐based leaders in sales to the U.S. public sector: Glock (based in Austria), SIG Sauer (Germany) and Beretta (Italy). Glock is the leading police gun in the U.S. market. Metro IAF has requested a meeting with Gaston Glock, the company’s founder and chief executive.
“Gaston Glock is an innovator,” Miles said. “With no history in the gun industry, he built a gun that within a decade was known as ‘America’s gun.’ More than anyone, he knows how quickly innovation can change the entire face of an industry.”
Metro IAF is seeking manufacturers that innovate in two key areas:
Creating first-‐rate dealer networks in the United States that work closely with law enforcement to limit gun trafficking. Limiting the flow of guns to the unregulated “private” market.
Bringing “smart gun” technologies to market, which prevent children or other unauthorized users from firing a gun. Incorporating bullet microstamping capabilities to give law enforcement a powerful tool for ballistics tracing.
Among the public officials submitting the Request for Information (RFI) about manufacturers’ practices in these areas is Jersey City Mayor Fulop, who last year became one of the first public officials in the nation to take initial steps in this procurement-‐driven approach. “Asking these questions will help us identify the leaders in these critical areas for public safety in Jersey City and cities across the country,” Fulop said. “It’s the first step in a process of making sure we’re using our procurement dollars to achieve the greatest possible impact in terms of public safety.”
Cook County Sheriff Dart said the RFI is “a set of reasonable questions that any law enforcement officer or agency should know about the companies they buy their guns from. If we can identify the leaders in gun safety and responsible distribution, this will put optimal law enforcement technology in the hands of Cook County officers at a reasonable cost to taxpayers.”
Mayor Finch of Bridgeport thanked Rev. Anthony Bennett, also of Bridgeport, for being part of the delegation. “We look forward to any answers Rev. Bennett and Metro IAF can get to these critical questions,” Finch said. “”We must continue to work towards any measures that will keep guns out of the hands of criminals and stop the trafficking of illegal guns to keep our cities safe.”
In addition to attending EnforceTac, the Metro IAF team will also:
- Travel to Winnenden, Germany to join that community in its commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Albertville school massacre on March 11.
- Meet with key European Union officials.
- Visit European gun stores to learn about gun distribution practices there.
- Hold follow-‐up discussions with Armatix, a leading innovator in smart-‐gun technologies, about the company’s plans in the U.S. market. Metro IAF met with Armatix in December at its Munich headquarters.
Metro IAF’s delegation consists of:
Rabbi Joel Mosbacher
Rev. Anthony Bennett
Ms. Donna Weinberger
Rev. Richard Gibson
Ms. DiAne Boese
Rev. Patrick O’Connor
Rev. Tyrone Stevenson
Rev. David Brawley
Metro IAF Organizer
Metro IAF Organizer
For background information on this campaign, please contact:
Joe Morris, firstname.lastname@example.org, 201-‐705-‐7988
Amy Totsch, email@example.com, 773-‐803-‐8830
Key public officials in the following jurisdictions have expressed support for this strategy:
State of Illinois
Cook County, IL
Oak Park, IL
Jersey City, NJ
West Orange, NJ
New York, NY
New Rochelle, NY
Rye Brook, NY
Shaker Heights, OH
South Euclid, OH
Oakwood Village, OH
Orange Village, OH