Mayors, Law Enforcement Officials & Survivors Of Gun Violence Demand Plan From DC To Stop Bloodshed
By Mel Fabrikant Thursday, January 10, 2013, 03:26 PM EST
Mayors Against Illegal Guns to Launch Television Ad Featuring Mother of Young Girl Slain at Tucson Shooting; Ad Will Air in Binghamton
On the two-year anniversary of the Tucson shooting, Binghamton Mayor Matthew T. Ryan, local law enforcement officials, and survivors of gun violence gathered at Binghamton City Hall to call on Congress to pass sensible gun laws that will help save lives. Since Tucson, Washington lawmakers have taken no meaningful steps to address gun violence in this country – despite the fact that 33 Americans are murdered with firearms every day. Binghamton has experienced its own gun-related tragedies over the years, most notably in April 2009 when a shooter used multiple high-capacity ammunition magazines to shoot and kill 13 people at the American Civic Association.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns also released a new television ad at the event today featuring Roxanna Green, who lost her 9-year-old daughter Christina-Taylor during the Tucson shooting. The ad will air in the Binghamton market and can be seen here: www.demandaplan.org/christina-taylor
Now, just weeks after the rampage in Newtown, this group is calling on Congress to end America’s gun violence epidemic by:
• Requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales: Background checks are the only systematic way to stop felons, domestic abusers and other dangerous people from buying firearms. But federal law only requires background checks for gun sales at licensed dealers. Almost 6.5 million guns are sold each year in the U.S. by unlicensed “private sellers,” including online and at gun shows. That means that between 40% and 50% of gun sales may take place with no background check for the buyer. According to Republican pollster Frank Luntz, 82% of gun owners support criminal background checks on all gun sales.
• Banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines: Military-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines have no place on our streets. They are designed to kill large numbers of people quickly, and they have no other use in civilian hands. Today, even people with criminal records, or with serious mental illness, can and do buy assault weapons from unlicensed private sellers who don’t conduct background checks.
• Making gun trafficking a federal crime: Every year, tens of thousands of guns find their way into the hands of criminals through illegal trafficking channels. But there is no clear and effective statute that makes gun trafficking a federal crime. Prosecutors who want to combat traffickers are forced to rely on a weak law that prohibits “engaging in the business of selling guns without a federal license,” which carries the same punishment as trafficking chicken or livestock.
Statements from Participants at Today’s Event
Binghamton Mayor Matthew T. Ryan
“We’ve seen gun violence claim innocent lives in Binghamton, in Tucson, and in countless other communities across the country. Far too many Americans are dying by way of gunfire and, without commonsense firearm laws in place, the death toll will only keep rising. We need our elected officials in Washington, including Binghamton’s own Congressman Richard Hanna, to put our families first and take decisive action that will help save lives.”
Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski
“Our weak gun laws pose a constant threat to the city of Binghamton and the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect this city every day.We need lawmakers in Congress to close dangerous loopholes in our background check system and keep military-style assault weapons off our streets – and we need them to do it now. We cannot afford to wait for the next tragedy to strike.”
Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen
“Our communities are safest when our laws make it harder for dangerous people to acquire guns and easier for law enforcement to stop them. For too long, our leaders in Washington have failed to adopt this sensible approach and the costs have proven catastrophic. It’s time that Congress steps up and does the right thing.”
Broome County Undersheriff Alex Minor
“Respecting our Second Amendment rights and ensuring public safety go hand-in-hand. Something as simple as a criminal background check takes only a few minutes to complete, and it helps keep guns from falling into the wrong hands. It’s no surprise that 82 percent of gun owners support such a safeguard – so why can’t Washington?”
Jeffrey King, Son of Gun Violence Victim of ACA Shooting
"My mother was an innocent victim, senselessly shot and killed with 12 of her students during the 2009 rampage at the Binghamton American Civic Association. I think of her every day, and feel the pain of her absence. We always think that such tragedies will happen to someone else, but I have learned that nowhere is completely safe. Today's assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines are absolutely unnecessary for the average citizen, and should be licensed for police and military personnel only. The gun access and violence in this country is outrageous. Our leaders in Washington must act now to restore reasonable gun regulation and to stop the endless violence. This will help save lives and prevent others from experiencing the awful grief of losing a loved one".
About Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Since its inception in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 mayors to more than 800 mayors from across the country, including more than 100 in New York. It has more than 950,000 grassroots supporters, making it the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country. The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by New York City Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united the nation’s mayors around these common goals: protecting their communities by holding gun offenders and irresponsible gun dealers accountable; demanding access to trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat illegal gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix gaps, weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other prohibited purchasers to get guns. Mayor Ryan joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns in 2009 following the shooting at Binghamton’s American Civic Association.