New York Mayor Bloomberg Says Kansas TV Station Was Wrong To 'Censor' Gun Ad

Friday, April 27th 2007, 8:42 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday questioned a Kansas television station's refusal to air an advertisement that is part of his antigun campaign.

``I think if I were CBS I'd call this local station and say what on earth were you thinking about? You can't censor this kind of ad, if you don't agree with the opinion,'' Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.

The ad features a Minnesota police chief who says federal legislation is keeping him from getting information about where guns in his community are coming from and who is buying them. CBS affiliate KWCH of Wichita said the ad is misleading.

``We are doing what responsible broadcasters do,'' said Laverne E. Goering, KWCH director of programming.

Another station in Wichita, the NBC affiliate KSN, also decided not to run the ad ``because the station could not verify its claims,'' according to a story on its Web site.

The measure at issue is known as the Tiahrt amendment, for its author, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., who represents Wichita. It is typically attached to appropriations bills each year.

The legislation prevents federal authorities from sharing gun trace data with cities and local law enforcement, although it allows law enforcers to have specific gun data for criminal investigations or prosecution.

Bloomberg argues that it makes tracing illegal guns more difficult for law enforcement authorities, but the National Rifle Association says it protects the privacy of gun owners.

Tiahrt says it actually helps law enforcers because it keeps confidential the information that could interfere with gun investigations, such as the names of gun buyers, and he points to the fact that the Fraternal Order of Police sides with him. A spokesman for Tiahrt says the congressman supports some changes to the language and is working with the Bloomberg administration to accomplish that.

The ad debuted during Sunday's political talk shows on NBC, ABC and CBS and later on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel. The ad buy is part of a campaign launched by Bloomberg's nationwide coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.