Former Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke officially became President of the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence at the beginning of the week. Not too many days passed before Mr. Helmke lobbed criticism at Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
That was on Wednesday. Today, Mr. Helmke issued a statement praising California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Here's the text of the statement released Wednesday by the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence:
Paul Helmke, the former three-term Republican Mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana who became President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence on Monday, issued the following statement:
"Yesterday, in Tallahassee, Florida, Governor Jeb Bush implied that loosening his state's gun laws has reduced violent crime. His statement is not supported by the facts.
"While I am always happy to see any decrease in crime, when compared to other states, Florida's record is nothing to be proud of. According to FBI figures, in 2004 Florida had the second highest violent crime rate of any state in the Nation. Only South Carolina, also with weak gun laws, was more violent. The Governor's own figures show that the raw number of violent crimes in Florida actually increased in 2005, while its violent crime rate (crimes per 100,000 people) dropped only slightly last year. Florida has a higher violent crime rate than New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, all of which have strong gun laws.
"The truth is that, across the Nation, violent crime, particularly gun crime, has been in sharp decline since the Brady Law went into effect in 1994. Weak gun laws have not made Florida a leader in fighting crime: Arguably, they have helped to make it one of the two most violent states in the Nation.
"Explaining and understanding increases or decreases in crime is always difficult. To argue that putting guns into our communities leads to a reduction in crime makes no sense."