About two weeks after Mayor R.T. Rybak threatened to withhold city business from gun manufacturers critical of the president's gun control plan, a local dealer had a message for City Hall this week:
"WE DON'T WANT YOUR BUSINESS," Gary Shade, president of an Apple Valley custom firearms shop, e-mailed Rybak and the Minneapolis City Council on Tuesday.
Shade doesn't currently do business with Minneapolis cops but wants to make it clear he won't in the future since "your mayor believes he can bully gun manufacturers with threats of no business."
"When your police run out of ammunition, or need service parts for their firearms look elsewhere," Shade wrote.
Shade's letter said he is joining with Olympic Arms and LaRue Tactical in restricting sales to police departments or cities that support Obama's "unconstitutional" gun control plan or are "affiliated with the Fraternal Order of Police."
In an interview, Shade said he sells to other police departments, but only sent the letter to Minneapolis because of Rybak's strong comments.
Officers in Minneapolis generally purchase their firearms individually with stipends from the department.
Shade said his primary objection to recent gun control efforts is that "the bans don't work. You focus on the individual that's causing the problems, and you take care of that. If we have a mental health issue in the U.S., well then, let's take care of it."
Shelley Leeson, founder of Minnesotans for the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, said in an e-mail that several of the gun rights groups she represents are "appalled at RT Rybak's bully tactics and threatening hard working, law abiding businesses to coerce them to conform to his extremist agenda."
A Rybak spokesman, Andy Holmaas, said Thursday that Rybak's target in his council presentation was gun manufacturers, rather than dealers. "That's fine if this particular store doesn't want to sell," Holmaas said. "But we're concerned with manufacturers, not dealers."