Thursday, April 7, 2011

Alvin Brown, Mike Hogan agree on Jacksonville getting out of illegal guns program

Jacksonville mayoral candidates Mike Hogan and Alvin Brown are expected to agree on little leading up to next month’s election, but both oppose the city’s continued role in a national program Mayor John Peyton joined seeking a way to curb gun violence.

Hogan said he believes the Mayors Against Illegal Guns program is an attempt to rob people of their Second Amendment right to bear firearms rather than being anti-crime. His website calls it a "deceptively named national organization that often puts gun control over crime prevention" — a position reinforced by the National Rifle Association, which supports Hogan.

Brown, asked about the website reference, said he believed that anything accomplished by the program could be handled locally and saw no need to spend resources to continue in the program.

Peyton joined the program while hosting the group's Florida conference in 2008.

He said he saw it as a way to look outward for ways to curb the city's high murder rate. A Times-Union study in 2007 found a third of those arrested in Duval County gun homicides were felons, prohibited by law from possessing firearms. But little was being done to track and curb the supply of those guns.

The city's role in the program has been minimal. An employee hired by the city with program funds to coordinate the city's role left the job after about a year and wasn't replaced. Peyton made one trip to New York - also paid for by the program - to participate in a conference.

Peyton declined to comment on the next mayor's plans but said he was pleased with the program.

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