The Mayors and the Mole

August 14, 2008
By

DAVID TABER

There was plenty of discussion about what gun regulation advocates consider strong-arm lobbying by the National Rifle Association (NRA) at the July 31 “Traffick Jam” workshop put on by Citizens For Safety at the Bromley-Heath housing development.

During her PowerPoint presentation, Citizens For Safety Executive Director Nancy Robinson highlighted a quote from 2000 by then NRA first vice president Kayne Robinson saying, “If we win, we will have a president… where we work out of their office—unbelievably friendly relations.”

In his comments at the workshop, Mayor Thomas Menino also said the powerful national lobby has consistently opposed regulation of the gun trade. “We are trying to change the mindset of the NRA,” he said.

Speaking about Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group he co-founded with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2006, Menino said “The NRA is so afraid of our little organization that they had a mole in our organization. That mole we have snuffed.”

According to the mayor’s press office, Menino was referring to a woman from Florida named Mary Lou Sapone who also went by the name Mary McFate. A July 30 article in Mother Jones Magazine identified Sapone—a consultant under contract with the NRA—as the same person as McFate.

The story was picked up by national news outlets early this month.

According to the Mother Jones article, McFate had been involved in the gun-control movement since the 1990s and regularly participated in high-level national strategic discussions.

“When Mayors Against Illegal Guns…mounted a campaign against the NRA-backed Tiahrt amendment—legislation advanced by US Rep. Todd Tiahrt and first passed by Congress in 2003 that prevents the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from sharing gun-tracing data—McFate…made sure to participate in conference calls during which strategy for beating back the bill was discussed,” the article says.

The NRA did not return Gazette phone calls for this article.

See Also: Group revived to oppose illegal guns