More than 200 mayors call for gun safety legislation

Newe Jersey was represented among signatories on a letter endorsed by more than 200 Republican and Democratic mayors from across the country who urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to bring the Senate back to Washington to take action on bipartisan gun safety legislation.

The mayors’ call to action comes after gun violence tore apart the communities of El Paso and Dayton this past weekend.

Mayors are on the front lines of the gun violence tragedies that have ripped through American cities, and the bipartisan group will be calling upon the Senate to take up two bipartisan bills that have previously passed the U.S. House of Representatives: H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019, and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019.

President Donald Trump has banned bump stocks and prioritized gun-related prosecutions — moves that, in sum, position him favorably compared to some of his predecessors.

But the bulk of his administration’s gun-related efforts have focused on expanding gun rights and opposing stricter limits on them and he has waffled on support for improving the background-check database.

Mayor Nan Whaley, of Dayton, OH , and Mayor Dee Margo, of El Paso, TX, represented the two cities where mass shootings claimed at least

The United States has more gun-related deaths than other countries of similar socioeconomic standing, and in 2017, it had the highest number of gun-related suicides, according to the University of Washington.

Before Trump floated the idea of background checks, he joined other Republicans, such as Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, in talking about a connection between violent video games and gun violence.

“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” said Trump at one point during the Aug. 5 address. “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.”

Experts who reviewed the scientific research, and it shows the link is weak, say that it is ridiculous to blame violent video games for deaths caused by actual firearms.

“There is absolutely no scientific evidence that gaming is linked with mass shootings,” said the University of Oxford’s Andrew Przybylski, who led one of the studies.

In February, the House of Representatives took an important step by passing two bills that will close significant loopholes in the background check system the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and the Enhanced Background Check Act (HR 8 and HR 1112).

The nation’s mayors agree these are bipartisan, sensible gun safety bills that will make our cities safer and in no way compromise gun owners’ rights.”

“We grieve with El Paso, Dayton and all communities that have suffered the pain of gun violence and hate.  As a start, I call on the Senate to return to work and pass these two commonsense gun reform bills.  How many more families must suffer before we act?” asked USCM Vice President Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville (KY).

“There is no worse thing that can happen to a city. Dayton is pulling together, but this violence has left a lasting void in our community. We cannot allow this tragic event to fade from our memories without taking action. We cannot just accept it and wait until horror strikes again. Politics has stood in the way of action for too long, and I can tell you politics seems very petty when it is your friends and neighbors who are injured or dead. We are urging everyone in Washington to come together and end this crisis,” said USCM Second Vice President Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton (OH).

“The United States Conference of Mayors has supported common sense gun regulations since 1968 when Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy were assassinated,” commented USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran.  “This year we have been focusing on two bills that could make a real difference in our cities: H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019.  Both bills passed the House in February and have been languishing in the Senate ever since.  214 mayors are saying today that enough is enough and it’s time to pass these bills and help us reduce gun violence in our cities.”

The letter urges the Senate to consider two bipartisan bills that previously passed the U.S. House of Representatives: H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019, and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019. H.R. 8 would close serious loopholes in the nation’s background check system for gun purchases, and H.R. 1112 would lengthen the background check review period deadline.

For over five decades, the Conference has advocated for policies to combat gun violence, consistent with its support of the Second Amendment. At its 87th Annual Conference, mayors passed a series of resolutions to address this crisis.

The full text of the letter is below and can be found here.

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