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Grand Rapids Mayor Addresses Gun Violence And “Lax” Gun Laws

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Tuesday, Mayor George Heartwell issued the following statement on gun violence to FOX 17. In it, he addresses concerns about an uptick in gun violence nationwide, a citizen who open carries at commission meetings, as well as “lax and irresponsible gun laws.” Read the following:

Mayor George Heartwell
January 28, 2014

Since last we met as a City Commission – according to the on-line resource Wikipedia – there have been nine school shootings, and at least one movie theatre and one mall shooting in the United States. If that pace continues it will outstrip last year’s 31 school shootings. Since the January 1, 2000, there have been a reported 119 school shootings in the US. How could we forget the 6 year old boy in Flint who brought his uncle’s gun to school and killed his little 6 year old classmate, because, as he said, “I don’t like her.”

In Grand Rapids there have been 23 reports of gunshots and 3 shooting victims since January 1.

There have been uncounted numbers of suicides by gun in the country since last we met but, if averages hold up, then 1,119 people have turned their guns on themselves and taken their lives in the last three weeks. Just over half of all suicides are by gun.

There is estimated to be 310 million guns in this country. That is one gun for every man, woman, and child in the nation save 9,000,000. Many of those guns are owned by unstable people or are owned by others in the homes of unstable people in which guns are available. The Congress of the United States has failed its responsibility to protect us from those dangerous and mentally unstable people. Every American citizen is at risk today because of our lax and irresponsible gun laws. We even had an illustration in our neighboring community of [Ionia] of two licensed gun carriers drawing on each other after a road rage incident. Both are dead.

I sit in our City Commission meeting week after week anxious and frightened because a civilian with a gun in this chamber. I know that he can kill me, and probably others at this table or in these chambers, before the police officer in the rear of the room can react. Carrying a gun always represents the threat to use that gun to kill or maim one another. That, after all, is why these people carry their guns.

Now the gun advocates want to “desensitize” the community to open carry. The more guns we see, they say the less we will fear them or the people carrying them. Well, I will never be desensitized and God help us all if society accepts those bullying tactics as the norm.

I urge all citizens who feel as I do to take action. Arm yourselves with the righteousness of our position. If you see an armed person come into a store or restaurant, alert others and leave the establishment. If you see an armed person come in a shopping mall or movie theatre, alert security and leave the building. If you see an armed person approaching a school, call the police. You see we can ever know what that individual’s intention may be. We must always err on the side of public safety rather than regretting later, when people are dead, that we didn’t act.

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  • JRapids

    Would someone please alert me when this idiot is out of office so I can move into the City of Grand Rapids? He is a threat to intelligence. I am anxious and frightened by him. Oh, wait a minute, no I am not because I have a brain. The next time I am in a restaurant and see a larger person with an eating utensil, I am going to alert someone because they are trying to kill themself. Makes about as much sense as this article. I love how he thinks if we have tougher laws, the criminals will turn in their illegal guns. Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws on the books and let's examine how well that is working. Retire and stop pretending you are anything but a bleeding heart liberal.

  • julvrug

    Wow, is all I can say about this. The level of ignorance is great in this one. Glad I do not live in the City of Grand Rapids, because their "leadership" (which I use the term loosely) is less than intelligent when it comes to this issue. The more legal guns you remove, the greater the incident of illegal gun crimes will be committed.

  • Informeldahyde

    People who carry concealed legally are thoroughly vetted and are a deterrent to the idiots who choose to use them illegally. Use your brain and you may realize it. Open carry is 100% legal for non felons in this state and you choose to be afraid of someone who chooses to have the balls to exercise his second amendment rights and cause a scene and problem for people who are doing something completely legal. I hope you know statistically that every 30th person you walk by in Meijers is a law abiding person that is carrying concealed.
    You sir are a cowardly wimp.

  • Truth Be Told

    This is why I refuse to set foot in Grand Rapids and spend my money elsewhere.
    The mayor the people of grand rapids elected is a political coward.
    It isn't the gun laws of the lawful gun own owners who are committing the violence.
    The gangsters, gastas, thugs, criminals and scumbags who are committing the violence and your mayor is afraid to admit it.
    In Grand rapids, political correctness, the liberal agenda and fear of the truth take priority over public safety and the civil rights of LAWFUL gun owners.

  • Gun Owner

    Perhaps the mayor should read the news that takes place in his town?
    Take a look at the news paper, read the stories-
    Do you really think infringing on the constitutional rights of legal gun owns is going change the skyrocketing crime rate in GR?
    The mayor is either ignorant or using crime as an excuse to impead lawful gun owners.
    And when that happens, and lawful, legal gun owners are denied their civil rights, the criminals will have the run of the streets.
    I suspect this in preparation for Obama's attack on the lawful gun owners while he too ignores the criminals.
    Elections indeed have consequences, you get what you vote for.
    Trading freedom for free cell phones ?

    • We know the truth

      AGREE why would a major be uneasy to see law abiding citizens with a side arm in a public meeting ? He states it makes him uneasy but yet he’s not uneasy to have his armed police officers there ! Why is that ok ? I smell some marksist communism. We are his boss he works for US and if we make him uneasy perhaps he should go find another job . If he’s doing his job and not part of tyranny then he’s shouldn’t have a worry . So tired of this goverment thinking there somehow better than or above the tax payers they work for . Things are changing me heartwell perhaps you know you got a dam good reason to feel uneasy isn’t that right ? Time for the people of this city to awaken and remove him and the rest of his kind from office looking forward to election time Goerge

  • Bulldog

    He is clueless need I say. He'd poop his pants if someone pointed a "pretend" gun at him. Glad he's not my husband. My husband carries his gun when we go to snarky places like Detroit, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Grand Rapids!!! How many car and truck accidents have happened in and around G.R. since the first of the year? O.K. Let's ban them. And knives, and rapists, and abusive men, women, etc., etc. Our society is to blame for gun killings, not guns. Guns SAVE lives!!

    • DaGryphon

      Society isn't to blame, its the individual committing the act of murder that is to blame. Putting the blame on society is why idiots like this get elected. Because we as a society are to blame because someone isn't raised in a manner that aids society, or has no care for laws or others.

  • Not Afraid

    I also hope that people realize by "crying wolf" every time they see someone with a gun and the police respond, they may not be available to respond when they are truly needed.

  • Tom

    In fact Mayor George Hartwell, Grand Rapids, Michigan is a member of Michael R. Bloomberg's anti-gun organisation "mayors against illegal guns".

    Whats next GR, a ban on large sodas ?

  • Brian

    Mayor Heartwell, Tell us what changed in the last 20-30 years that has all the new cropping of gun violence? Come on sir, Tell me an be truthful.
    Can it be that society is reaping what it has sown? Has bred the violence by its lack of following rules an regulation? The art of the "Me & Mine attitude"? pushes of Socialism? Lack of parental control or lack of parents period? Pushing God out of Society in general then wondering why everyone acts as they do? Violent & graphic entertainment that's indoctrinated so early in youth that's all they know.
    Funny how I grew up on seeing a gun toting Yosemitey Sam in cartoons yet don't go around shooting up places, where gun clubs used to be in schools and respect for authority, was taught by both parents an the school system. A healthy fear of Punishment if one did break the rules, etc…….
    Yet another politician that can only see a symptom an call it the disease. That's right Mayor Heartwell. Take away OUR RIGHTS Given by the founding fathers for a reason, protect us from those who try to take it away because the very society itself is broken an then you can be our mom an dad an provider as you know what's best for all of us. NOT

  • Steve Clark

    Oh, George….I don't even know where to start. Your fear is obviously defining your position. Somebody needs to take him to the range for the afternoon so he can get over his fear of firearms.

  • grforlife

    Mr Mayor…I think you need to worry more of your budgeting then worrying about guns or messing up Our River….we know your a well educated Man…so please lets use your Brain.you know 99.9% of your gun related crimes are committed by non-registered gun owners…

  • teatime

    boy, those seem like LOW numbers of gun crime compared to 310 MILLION of them out there…seem pretty harmless to me, course I am not a pussified mamby pamby fraidy cat either….Hey George, you forgot to mention how many cops kill with their guns, and one of those crazies guards your pretentious little meetings too….

  • South of gr

    Anyone else notice the mayor calling for people to panic at the sight of anyone carrying a firearm without assessing the situation first. Almost like if you should call the cops on anyone drinking at the bar on the chance they will drive drunk. The act of carrying a weapon does not mean that weapon will ever be drawn. 99.999% of ccw holders pray they will never have to draw their weapon but the right to have it for their protection should not even be up for debate

    • We know the truth

      It seems the people of Grand Rapids have spoken me heartwell you probably should just not run for re election seems that old age has affected your intelligence NOT it was never there in the first place ! Tell us Goergie boy of all the gun crimes in the last year who were they commited by? Law abiding citizens? Or felons , parolees etc ?? And can you tell us how many of those crimes involved ASSUALT WEAPONS? I specifically remember grpd wanting to equal the playing field with criminals but yet I bet not one case were a criminal used an AR15 or AK47 but yet GRPD totes full auto AR15 in there trunks ASSAULT WEAPONS please tell us why a PEACE OFFICER WOULD CARRY WEAPONS OF ASSAULT !!! There is a lot more going on that’s ets the eye isn’t there goerge and that my friend is really why citizens with guns makes you nervous ain’t that right goerge , you and the likes of you have trampled our rights for decades . Can’t wait to put you in the unemployed line next election your am idiot seems the more education one gets the summer they get start packing goerge this issue sealed the deal time for real leadership in Grand Rapids !!!

  • Gun Owner

    This guy is concerned about public safety, then reduces funding for police and fire. An armed officer in the room is no less dangerous than a SANE law abiding citizen with a gun. This letter had a very un educated tone to it and also very ignorant. As a mayor you should have done some research on the subject before issuing a statement on it. He reffered to gun advocates as bullies, and in his letter he's acting as a bully himself. How can you condemn honest gun owners and try and turn the public against them and not call yourself a bully._

  • Stand and fight

    Wow, mayor stop if you want to use statistics stop using Wikipedia and try using the FBI's crime statistics or would that just make too much sense for someone who doesn't seem to have much common sense. Second, when did you become a doctor that's able to determine if someone is mentally unstable? Yeah that's what I thought, you aren't one so please stop pretending. As for congress not protecting the american people, congress has to follow the constitution, have you ever heard of it? I don't think you have because you refuse to adapt your city ordinance to comply with state law. This has now caused a court case which we all know you will lose. You can point out two people shooting each other to try to make a point but this was only an isolated incident and not common place. Yes, its obvious you fear what you don't understand. Why do you not fear the cop that has a gun? Your also don't seem to understand that people carry guns for protection, just like cops do. Its time mayor, that you realize you represent the people not your own views. You took an oath to uphold the constitution, that includes the RIGHT, to bear arms. It doesn't matter if you like it or not. If you do not want to uphold your oath, either resign or prepare to be recalled.

  • Nate

    After a wild rant like that the only acceptable thing for the mayor to do would be to resign and move away from Grand Rapids. You belong in Chicago. They love your idea of no legal gun carriers and of course there are never any shootings as a result of that. This guy makes me sick.

  • Scott

    Dear Mayor Heartwell… You sir, are an uninformed, ignorant, fool. And you should be outed from office. Politicians such as YOURSELF, the Governor Of New York, and the HIGHEST of all idiots, Berry Soetero (Barrack Obama) are the TRUE bullies! You use your office of power to wield Un-Constitutional laws and spread false inaccurate information. YOU SIR, are the true, undeniable terrorists! NOT legal, law abiding citizens of this City, County, or State that have a Constitutional right, to KEEP and bear arms!! PERIOD! You are suppose to be an educated man! What part of the 2nd amendment don't you get? Your statement sickens me, as I live in the crime riddled city. I carry a gun at ALL times to protect myself and my family. Police officers are not standing near or around me at all times. Please resign immediately, for you are an idiot!!

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