Miami, Lauderhill Mayors Join Fight Against Illegal Guns - NBC 6 South Florida

Miami, Lauderhill Mayors Join Fight Against Illegal Guns

On heels of Super Bowl ad, Tomas Regalado and Richard Kaplan explain how gun violence affects their cities

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    Miami, Lauderhill Mayors Join Fight Against Illegal Guns

    On heels of Super Bowl ad, Tomas Regalado and Richard Kaplan explain how gun violence affects their cities. (Published Monday, Feb. 6, 2012)

    In their Super Bowl ad, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg came together to spread the word about their effort to rid America’s streets of black market guns.

    They were talking about guns like illegally obtained AK-47s – the kind often used in devastating drive-by shootings in Miami. And Miami’s mayor is sick of the carnage.

    “This is one of the biggest problems that we have in big cities, especially in Miami,” Mayor Tomas Regalado said. “If we can get those weapons out of the streets, the city would be better.”

    Lauderhill leader Richard Kaplan, who like Regalado has signed onto the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, says “if we could get all of the illegal guns off the market, the problem would be solved.”

    Over 600 mayors across the country are part of the campaign, Bloomberg said, and “agree on common sense reforms that would save lives.”

    Twenty-eight are in Florida, including the mayors of Aventura, Deerfield Beach, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Miami Beach.

    Lauderhill’s mayor, who has seen lots of gun violence in his city, says the group supports the Second Amendment. He is a National Rifle Association-rated marksman himself.

    But the commercial is drawing flack. Townhall.com accused the ad of pushing gun control, for example.

    “If they were just against illegal guns, they should just enforce the existing laws. What they really want is to make more guns illegal,” one reader wrote on the conservative site.

    Responded Kaplan, “There are people out there that any form of discussion dealing with the use of guns that in any way is perceived to be a restriction, they have a problem with, they’re against.”

    “To them I say come to Liberty City, come to Overtown, and see why we’re doing this,” Regalado said. “The issue is not having weapons. The issue is illegal weapons.”

    The NRA could not be reached for comment for this story.

    Kaplan and Regalado both say the key to getting illegal guns off the streets is enforcing existing laws and having aggressive police departments who are committed to taking strong action at the street level.