Butler mayor featured in NRA video
Butler's new mayor is the subject of a video made by the National Rifle Association, which endorsed his November campaign.
“I have to tell you that I think I got some votes from their endorsement. I am pro-Second Amendment and have a literal interpretation of the Constitution,” said Tom Donaldson, who says he always carries a gun.
The eight-minute video, “Voters Stick to Their Guns,” features interviews with Donaldson, U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Butler, and several pro-gun Butler voters.
It includes remarks from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a gun control advocate.
“It was impressive to talk to people in the community. I don't think they saw this as just a firearms issue. They are concerned about freedom and don't think a mayor like Bloomberg belongs in their backyard,” said Ginny Simone, who reports and produces videos for the NRA's website.
Simone spent four days in Butler this month making the video, which is accessible at NRANews.com and YouTube.
“People wanted change. This is not New York City. This ‘Small Town USA,' conservative America,” Butler resident Jim Ditmer said of the election in the video.
The NRA targeted former Mayor Maggie Stock last fall because she signed a petition backing Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group organized and largely funded by Bloomberg.
“Former Mayor Maggie Stock made this an issue. Butler is a gun-toting community,” Donaldson said.
Stock accuses the NRA of distorting her record, saying, “It was a hot-button issue that got the attention of people who don't usually vote. They are completely tainting the process.
“This is about illegal handgun sales, gun trafficking, straw purchases and moving illegal guns across state lines,” she said. “Why would anyone support that? This has nothing at all to do with hunting.”
Donaldson, a former police chief, questioned the accuracy of the Bloomberg group's name.
“Mayors Against Illegal Guns. That sounds nice. What they really mean is, mayors that want to take your guns.”
Donaldson contends that strict gun control failed in cities such as Philadelphia and Chicago, which last year logged 415 homicides, more than any American city.
“It's the criminals who have all the guns in those places,” he said.
Two weeks before the election, the NRA made robocalls and sent postcards opposing Stock, saying she was affiliated with an “extremist” anti-gun group.
Donaldson said he campaigned more on fighting crime than specifically on guns, and he contends that guns “are not a mayor's issue.”
Mark Glaze, executive director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said Stock's loss is an exception.
“More than 95 percent of the Pennsylvania mayors in our coalition who were up for re-election in November prevailed,” Glaze said. “We have a strong delegation of Pennsylvania mayors because they are fighting for what 88 percent of Pennsylvanians support: common-sense gun laws that will save lives.”
Rick Wills is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7944 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.