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Posted: 4/20/2007 1:16:54 AM EST
OK, nuts to gun fest


Thursday, April 19th 2007, 4:00 AM


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A Virginia gun-rights group responsible for the "Bloomberg Gun GiveAway" - a raffle aimed at helping Virginia gun dealers sued by Mayor Bloomberg - planned to hold a celebration today to announce the drawing's winners and to blast Hizzoner.

"But, with the grieving going on all around us and our own heavy hearts, a celebration of any sort, by anybody, makes no sense," the Virginia Citizens Defense League wrote yesterday in an e-mail alert to members, referring to Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech.

The decision to postpone the drawing marks an abrupt about-face by the group's president, Philip Van Cleave, who had insisted the celebration would be held despite the campus carnage that left 32 innocents dead.

"We're going to have chips and dips and a cake," Van Cleave told the Daily News on Tuesday.

Yesterday, he told The News, "Nobody's in the mood to celebrate."

The drawing has been postponed until May 17.

Asked yesterday about the raffle and celebration, Bloomberg said, "I won't dignify what those gun dealers are doing."

Bloomberg also blasted Van Cleave and others who argue that Virginia Tech students and professors might have been able to stop the massacre had they been armed.

Bloomberg's pro-gun control stance has landed him on this month's cover of the National Rife Association publication America's 1st Freedom, where he is portrayed as an octopus with a headline warning, "Tentacles!"

Michael Saul

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