Anti-gun campaign comes under more fire over alleged victims on list
CONCORD - The Mayors Against Illegal Guns campaign came under increased fire Thursday when it was learned that a Slate.com list it was using to read off names of "victims" of gun violence included criminals and murderers killed by police.
On Wednesday, the gun control group issued an apology after the New Hampshire Union Leader reported that the group read the name of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev during its "No More Names" rally in Concord. The organization said Tsarnaev, who was killed during a gunfight with police on April 19 while trying to escape in the aftermath of the April 15 bombing, was not a "victim" and his name shouldn't have been included.
The organization said it was relying on Slate.com's list of people killed by gunfire.
On Thursday, the New Hampshire Republican Party further criticized the organization, which was founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, because the list it was using includes such people as Christopher Dorner, a former Los Angeles police officer who went on a killing spree in February, and Kevin Bailey, who was killed by police in Solon, Ohio, after opening fire on officers during a traffic stop.
"It is disgusting that Mayor Bloomberg's radical out-of-state gun control group came to New Hampshire and honored so many thugs, murderers and terrorists. Mayor Bloomberg owes every Granite Stater a personal apology for the outrageous conduct of his extremist organization." NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn said in a statement.
Slate.com, in an article published Wednesday, said its list never uses the word "victim" and that the names, provided through online crowdsourcing, "is a pure accounting of deaths, provided, as our original partner in the project @GunDeaths notes, 'regardless of cause and without comment.'"
Attempts to reach the Mayors Against Illegal Guns campaign today have not been successful.
Horn also criticized the New Hampshire Democrat Party and President Barack Obama's Organizing for Action NH, which she said "openly collaborated with Mayors Against Illegal Guns."
"Mayors Against Illegal Guns has been thoroughly discredited and disgraced. President Obama and New Hampshire Democrats need to sever ties with this shameful group and make it clear that they are not welcomed in the Granite State," she said.
Harrell Kirstein, spokesman for the NHDP, said federal elections law prohibits political committees like the NHDP from any in-kind coordination or collaboration with not-for-profit corporations like Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
He said the charge against the NHDP is "just another of Horn's pathetic attempts to distract from the avalanche of shamefully embarrassing Republican lawmakers" who have made embarrassing references or statements.
Meanwhile, Concord police Lt. Timothy O'Malley said Thursday that police continue to investigate the circumstances that led to Daniel Musso of Brentwood to be tasered and arrested.
Musso is shown on several video feeds loudly confronting John Cantin of Manchester, who was telling the group about his support for tighter gun control measures following the shooting death of his daughter, Missy Charbonneau, in 2009.
Musso could not be reached today for comment. He owns Musso's Mill Yard on Crawley Falls Road in Brentwood and an employee who answered the phone at the business said he is rarely there.
After Musso walked away, he was confronted by Concord police officers Sgt. Sean Ford, Robert Fallon and Eric Haglund. He is accused of assaulting Fallon — video of the event shows Musso lightly placing his hands on an officer, presumed to be Fallon.
Following a short struggle in which police repeatedly told Musso to put his hands behind his back and telling him not to resist, with Musso saying all the while that he wasn't resisting while keeping his hands in front of him, Haglund tasered Musso and the three officers wrestled him to the ground.
As of Thursday afternoon, 81 percent of more than 4,100 people who had taken an online poll at unionleader.com said they believed Concord police were not reasonable in arresting Musso.