The following letter was submitted to the Star Tribune as an opinion piece. Allegedly, they refused to print it. I am posting it here for everyone to see the position being taken by the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis against Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s plan to put economic pressure on gun and ammunition manufacturers such as Federal Cartridge Company.
The letter was first obtained by Minnesotans for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms:
R. T. Rybak Chases the Bandwagon
By John Delmonico, President – Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis
In his haste to jump on the gun control bandwagon before it leaves town, Mayor R. T. Rybak is using rank–and–file Minneapolis police officers as pawns. An article from the Star Tribune on 1/31/13 relayed that, “Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said Wednesday that he and leaders of other cities across the country plan to meet with major U.S. companies that supply guns and ammunition to municipal police forces and press them to stop supporting efforts to block gun control.”
R. T. has decided put economic pressure on gun and ammunition makers. His plan involves threatening to take the city’s business elsewhere if the companies don’t agree to support his political agenda.
Mayor Rybak says he hopes to learn whether the manufacturers “are working with us or working against us” to achieve gun control measures. “I believe we should put our money where our mouth is,” he explained to a city council committee.
While it’s nice to see the mayor finally acknowledging the power of the free market, putting the police department in turmoil, risking the safety of police officers and potentially making the city liable for millions of dollars in lawsuits is a bad idea.
First the city has little influence with gun manufacturers, because individual officers choose their weapons from a list of approved suppliers. No single gun manufacturer gets all the business anyway and replacing all the existing weapons would be incredibly expensive.
The department does buy all its ammunition from Minnesota–based Federal Cartridge Company. Each year spending approximately $600,000, buying both qualification and duty ammo from the company. Each of the 900 handguns in the department is zeroed in on Federal cartridges to insure the accuracy of the weapon. The same is true for all long guns.
The department has been using Federal ammunition for over ten years because it is accurate and reliable and has proven safe and dependable during situations that were literally life and death.
Even changing the department’s ammunition supplier would require recalibrating every weapon, requiring thousands of man hour man hours that the city can’t afford. Choosing a supplier based on whether they will succumb to political pressure is problematic anyway, but even more so when the decision may impact the safety of officers and civilians. And should we just dump the current inventory of Federal cartridges because the Mayor wants to make a political point?
Ironically, the mayor may soon discover that his leverage with Federal is non–existent. Currently the company has a production backlog that amounts to millions of dollars. Wal–Mart sells more Federal ammunition in a day than the Minneapolis Police Department buys in a year. The MPD is a tiny customer and it is a tribute to Federal’s customer service and friendship with the department that we get our ammunition without a wait.
Destroying this long–term relationship so the mayor can add to his “legacy” would be a terrific waste.
Instead, the POFM advocates taking the advice of a coalition of Minnesota law enforcement officials and concentrate on five areas where civilian and law enforcement leaders can make a difference.
–Improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
–Provide Law enforcement access to already public court mental health records.
–Improve the procedures for inmate competency and civil commitment evaluations and treatment.
–Review Minnesota’s Civil Commitment Law.
Assess the in-patient and out-patient psychiatric resources available to serve the mentally ill in Minnesota, including those in the criminal justice system.
Making these changes will have an immediate impact in Minneapolis and be far more effective than more publicity stunts and feel–good legislation.
The Star Tribune itself said, “complete, reliable information is the best weapon against crime and the best safeguard for the public and police.” The 850 members of the POFM could not agree more.
What can you do?
Minnesotans for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has several “Action Items” clearly listed on their website. Please use this information to make phone calls, send emails, and make your voice heard at the Capitol during this unprecendented attack on the rights of responsible Minnesota gun owners.