LITTLE ROCK — On the six-month anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group Mayors Against Illegal Guns held a small rally here Friday to urge Sen. Mark Pryor to change his position on background checks for gun purchasers.
Thirteen people participated in the event in Little Rock’s Allsopp Park, including Angela Bradford-Barnes of Little Rock, who was the chief financial officer for the Democratic Party of Arkansas in 2008 when a gunman entered party headquarters and fatally shot chairman Bill Gwatney.
"I hope and pray that our legislators will take into consideration their constituents and consider revisiting that particular piece of legislation," Bradford-Barnes said, referring to a proposal by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. — and opposed by Pryor, D-Ark. — to expand background checks on gun sales.
Bradford-Barnes has appeared in a television ad sponsored by Bloomberg’s group that urges Pryor to support the Manchin-Toomey bill.
The state Democratic Party has criticized the ad for politicizing Gwatney’s fatal shooting by Timothy Dale Johnson of Searcy, who later was shot and killed by police. Pryor has said the bill would not have saved Gwatney’s life and has released his own ad in which he says, "No one from New York or Washington tells me what to do. I listen to Arkansas."
J.P. Strother of Mayors Against Illegal Guns said at Friday’s rally the group plans to deliver to Pryor’s office a petition signed by more than 500 Arkansas voters asking him to vote for the Manchin-Toomey bill.