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Sen. O’Donnell, Mayor Brewer spar over Facebook post

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, July 30, 2013, at 4:43 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, July 31, 2013, at 10:25 a.m.

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State Sen. Michael O’Donnell and his longtime political adversary, Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, are at it again, this time over gun rights and a Facebook post.

O’Donnell says Brewer opposes the state and national constitutions. Brewer says he has “no idea at all” what the former Wichita City Council member is talking about.

“And what’s new about that?” the mayor asked, laughing.

Late Monday, O’Donnell used a Facebook post to question the city’s membership in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns group, formed in 2006. Brewer is one of two Kansas mayors listed on the group’s website.

“Why would Wichita be a member of this group — the brainchild of Michael ‘you can't drink soda’ Bloomberg? If you care about the 2nd amendment please contact our city leaders and ask them to drop out of this ‘gun control’ group!” O’Donnell wrote on Facebook.

O’Donnell noted a Monday Fox News Web article accusing the group of targeting lawmakers who support gun rights. He said Tuesday he has not talked with Brewer about the group or the article.

“I believe personally that, based on the mayor’s public positions with guns and his animosity toward the concealed carry law and gun owners from the bench as evidenced by his voting record, this fits right in with his outlook toward gun owners and gun rights,” O’Donnell said. “It more mirrors New York City than Wichita, Kansas.”

Brewer said Tuesday that he knew nothing of the Facebook post. He promised to check out O’Donnell’s Facebook page.

“We are?” he asked, when told he was listed on Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ website.

Brewer said he vaguely remembers the group’s formation in 2006, but doesn’t remember Wichita signing on.

“I remember that the chief (Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams) didn’t support it, and I don’t think we actually signed up,” Brewer said.

That doesn’t mean that Brewer doesn’t support the group’s original mission statement, as written on its website: “We support the Second Amendment and the rights of citizens to own guns. We recognize that the vast majority of gun dealers and gun owners carefully follow the law. And we know that a policy that is appropriate for a small town in one region of the country is not necessarily appropriate for a big city in another region of the country. But what binds us together is a determination to fight crime, and a belief that we can do more to stop criminals from getting guns while also protecting the rights of citizens to freely own them.”

“To say I don’t support gun rights at all is silly,” Brewer said. “I have guns myself. Everyone knows that.

“Now, I don’t want guns in public places. But I respect the rights of people to own guns.”

O’Donnell demanded Tuesday that Brewer get his name off the Bloomberg website. He acknowledged he does not own a gun.

“Well, sure he says he does,” O’Donnell shot back about Brewer’s guns. “I’ve never seen them. But he’s not supporting gun rights or the Second Amendment in a public setting.”

Brewer said Monday he’s unaware of any shift in the Bloomberg group’s focus.

“Does he (O’Donnell) even know what the group’s supposed to be about?” the mayor asked, chuckling.

“If you worried about things like this that just come out of nowhere, you wouldn’t get any business done,” he said.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @bwilsoneagle.

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