LAKELAND, Fla. - Gun control is suddenly at the forefront of the hotly contested race for mayor in Lakeland.
Recently the National Rifle Association came out with an ad that attacked Mayor Gow Fields and endorsed his opponent, Howard Wiggs.
The ads blast the current mayor for "attacking our freedom" claiming that he's against the second amendment."
"For someone to say that, they're just not telling the truth," Fields said.
The NRA singled out Mayor Fields because he joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg and about 750 other mayors on a letter written to the president calling for stricter gun laws in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
The mayors called for background checks on every gun buyer, and an end to military-style weapons, among other things.
"I am for gun ownership of citizens who have a right to own, but I'm not for having underage teens illegally possessing guns," said Fields, who is a gun owner himself. "We believe something proactive has to be done to make it more difficult to buy illegal guns or illegal possessing them. It's too easy for them to get them right now."
Gun violence is on the rise in Lakeland. Earlier this month, a 16-year-old was killed in a drive-by shooting in northwest Lakeland. The shooting is believed to be the result of a fight between two young gangs.
Howard Wiggs said he's also against illegal guns, but would never sign off on the letter because he said it's just one step closer to taking away guns from the American public.
"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that Mayor Bloomberg's agenda is to get rid of guns so anything that he's associated with I see that as a nose under the tent," Wiggs said.
Wiggs tells ABC Action News that he just found out about the NRA ad, and said he had nothing to do with it.
Before the race began, both candidates pledged not to "use or permit the use of any attack ads" and to "take firm action" on anyone who does.
Wiggs signed the pledge, but because he has no affiliation with the ad or the people who made it, he said it's out of his hands.
"Nowhere in the pledge does it say I need to find the makers of the ad and get it taken down," he said. "I have to stay out of the way on that. It's not my decision."
Mayor Fields disagrees.
"He has a responsibility based on that pledge to call the NRA and tell them to stop the bullying and negative campaigning and untruthful attacks," he said.
SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE PLEDGE FOR YOURSELF
Andrew Arulanandam, Spokesman for the NRA, said Lakeland voters deserve to know that Mayor Fields has aligned himself with Michael Bloomberg and "his radical agenda that seeks to limit our freedoms".
"The NRA is committed to protecting Second Amendment rights and Mayor Gow Fields has attacked those rights.
Fields said he is 'proud' to be a member of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s extremist group that promotes gun bans and other restrictions on law-abiding gun owners," Arulanandam said in a statement.
The election to decide the mayoral race is Tuesday, November 5.
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