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January 12, 2016

Harrisburg mayor pulls police from NRA-sponsored gun show

Democrat Eric Papenfuse takes city officers out of Great American Outdoor Show, cites payback for NRA-supported lawsuits as one reason

The mayor of Pennsylvania's capital city has a bone to pick with the National Rifle Association. So he's pulling city cops out of a huge NRA-sponsored gun show.

As Metro reported, Mayor Eric Papenfuse of Harrisburg cited two reasons for not providing police to the Great American Outdoor Show this February: gun violence and payback for the NRA supporting gun-ordinance lawsuits filed against the city.

"The NRA supported what we believed to be frivolous lawsuits that challenged existing gun regulations," said the mayor's spokesperson Joyce Davis.

In addition, she said, "There's definitely pressure from our mothers, our religious leaders, and our activists who care about youth for the NRA to work with law enforcement and not make it more difficult to protect our children."

In 2014, the NRA pushed for a controversial state law known as Act 192, which allowed any legal gun owner or gun-rights organization in the state to sue municipalities over gun regulations. The group Firearm Owners Against Crime then sued Harrisburg over gun-control ordinances that, for example, required gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms, prohibited guns in city parks and banned gun sales within the city.

A state court struck down Act 192 as unconstitutional in June, but Papenfuse hasn't forgotten his beef with the NRA.

“We have an epidemic of gun violence," Papenfuse told ABC 27. "It’s no secret that the NRA has worked against the city’s interests repeatedly over the past year causing us to spend tens of thousands of dollars to defend common sense gun ordinances. We don’t need to be doing them any favors.”

An NRA spokesperson said the real issue was that the group wasn't paying Harrisburg as much as the city demanded. Over the past two years, the NRA has paid more than $650,000 to Harrisburg for police security and city taxes and has also donated a $50,000 police car, the spokesperson told Metro.

Davis claimed that the NRA had agreed to donate money to the police department but was instead giving the donations to several nonprofits.

Read the full story here.