Mayors Say Administration’s Plan Responds Directly to Their Call. The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) today announced its endorsement of President Obama’s proposals and other measures to address violence in America.
“President Obama and Vice President Biden have offered a comprehensive set of concrete proposals that will help us to reduce the gun violence which occurs every day in our cities and prevent mass shootings like the one that occurred just six weeks ago in Newtown, Connecticut. If the horrific experience of Newtown could produce a positive outcome, it would be a national commitment to reduce the culture of violence, stop the easy access to guns by those who should not legally possess them, and increase access to badly needed mental health services,” said USCM President and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
Just three days after the Newtown tragedy, Conference leaders and mayors from across the country sent an open letter to President Obama and Congress urging the President to exercise his powers though Executive Order and Congress to introduce and pass legislation to make reasonable changes in the nation’s gun laws and regulations
(http://www.usmayors.org/pressreleases/uploads/2013/0128-document-lettertocongress.pdf). Specifically, the mayors called for universal background checks, a ban on both assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and strengthening the penalties for straw purchases of guns. More than 200 mayors have now co-signed the letter.
“Clearly the President heard to our call,” commented Mayor Nutter. “We applaud him for issuing executive actions to reduce gun violence. And we applaud him for calling for critically needed legislation and urge Congress ‘to do the right thing’ and institute universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and strengthen penalties for gun trafficking.”
“As mayors of varying size cities, many of us do all we can to reduce gun violence, but our efforts are too often thwarted by trafficking from other areas and states,” Nutter continued. “The President’s plan, which would also crack down on those who buy guns for the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals, will be an enormous help to us.”
Since 1968, the Conference of Mayors has had strong policy in support of reducing of gun violence. The organization has worked closely over the years with police chiefs in the development of those policies and in the enactment of critical legislation, including the Brady Act, which established the national background check system, and the 1994 crime bill, which established the COPS program and a ten-year federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
In addition to President Obama’s plan to reduce gun violence, the Conference endorsed the “Sandy Hook Principles” (http://www.usmayors.org/pressreleases/uploads/2013/0128-document-sandyhookprinciples.pdf ), which are intended to encourage positive corporate behavior by gun and ammunition manufacturers, distributors and retailers by establishing a baseline standard for responsible conduct and business practices. The Conference also called for the establishment of a “National Commission on Domestic Terrorism, Violence and Crime in America” (http://www.usmayors.org/pressreleases/uploads/2013/0128-document-uscmgunpolicycomparison.pdf) to examine the issues of violent crime and its prevention, and make recommendations that would detail what government at all levels can do to reduce the domestic terrorism, violence and crime which plague cities every day and prevent mass shootings which have occurred with increasing frequency over the last few years. The Sandy Hook Principles and the National Commission Proposal are available at usmayors.org.