'Guns Kill' vs. 'Guns Save Lives': Dueling Billboard Messages Coming to Los Angeles

By Susan Jones | March 15, 2011 | 10:39 AM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - A Second Amendment group is sending a "billboard" truck to Los Angeles on Wednesday to counter the "campaign of fear" being waged by gun control advocates, who are running their own mobile billboard message.

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) is spreading the message that guns save lives. Its mobile billboard truck says guns save between 800,000 and 2.5 million lives annually.

Another billboard truck in Los Angeles -- sent by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns -- advertises that 34 Americans are "murdered with guns every day."

CCRKBA Chairman Alan M. Gottlieb said the anti-gun campaign -- led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- "tells less than half of a story, so on Wednesday we're setting the record straight in the Golden State.” CCRKBA accuses Bloomberg of "spreading hysteria about gun rights."

CCRKBA's mobile billboard campaign, launched with the help of Gene Hoffman from the CalGuns Foundation, sends the message that thousands of people successfully use firearms every day to defend themselves or to prevent a criminal attack. "In the majority of those incidents, no shots are fired, and nobody is injured or killed," Gottlieb said.

CCRKBA says Bloomberg's ultimate goal is congressional passage of gun-control laws that would ban most semiautomatic firearms, impose 6- to 9-moonth background checks on would-be gun buyers, and put gun shows out of business.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns launched its cross-country billboard tour last month, hoping to draw attention to the "deadly problems in the nation's gun background check system."

The gun control group says it wants Congress to two things: 1) ensure that the names of all people prohibited from buying a gun are in a national background-check database; and 2) subject every gun sale, even private sales between individuals, to a background check.

President Obama apparently backs the mayors' campaign. He called for similar action himself in an op-ed published on March 13 in a Tucson newspaper.

Obama specifically took aim at "porous background checks." He called for strengthening the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which currently relies on "incomplete and inadequate" data supplied by the states. Obama wants to "reward" states that provide the best data, and he wants to make the system "faster and nimbler."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced on Monday that Justice Department officials have "reached out to stakeholders on all sides of this (gun) issue and they are going to be holding a series of discussions as a first step, and some of those meetings are happening this week.”

The National Rifle Association says any serious discussion about guns must include the expanded prosecution of criminals and fixing deficiencies in the mental health system.