Elected Officials, Gun Violence Survivors, Families Of Victims, And Local Advocates Gather In Phoenix To Voice Support For Common-Sense Background Checks That Help Save Lives

03 Jul, 2013, 13:45 ET from Mayors Against Illegal Guns

90 Percent of Arizonans Support Comprehensive Background Checks for All Gun Sales; Life-Saving Measure Helps Keep Guns Out of the Wrong Hands

Event is Part of "No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence" Bus Tour; www.NoMoreNames.org

PHOENIX, July 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Elected officials, survivors of gun violence, families of victims, and local advocates gathered in Phoenix today as part of the "No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence" – a 25-state national bus tour over a period of 100 days aimed at urging America's leaders to support common-sense gun policies. Participants voiced their continued support for comprehensive and enforceable background checks that help save lives, and they also thanked Senator John McCain for backing this life-saving measure by voting for bipartisan background checks legislation sponsored by NRA A-rated Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey.     

Participants and attendees included: State Senator Katie Hobbs; State Representative Mark Cardenas; State Representative Ruben Gallego; State Representative Martin Quezada; Vice Mayor Linda Laborin of Tolleson; Deborah Parker, whose daughter was murdered with a gun in Phoenix; Jennifer Longdon, a survivor of gun violence; Mary Berg of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America; Gerry Hills of Arizonans for Gun Safety; and Shannon Rich of Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

This past April, Senator McCain stood with the 90 percent of Arizonans who support background checks and voted in favor of the Manchin-Toomey bill that would have closed dangerous loopholes that allow dangerous people to obtain firearms by requiring background checks for commercial gun sales. The legislation failed to become law, however, after a minority of senators – including Senator Jeff Flake – voted to block the bill.

"Public safety is not a partisan issue, which is why 90 percent of Arizona residents are in favor of requiring background checks for all gun sales," said State Senator Katie Hobbs. "Arizonans know that background checks will protect their families and communities from gun violence. I urge Arizona's representatives in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to heed the will of their constituents and come together to support expanded background checks."

"Respect for the Second Amendment goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns away from dangerous people," said State Representative Mark Cardenas. "It's no wonder then that 82 percent of gun owners – including 74 percent of NRA members – support comprehensive and enforceable background checks."

"I stand with the 90 percent of Arizonans who support background checks for all gun sales, because these common-sense checks help save lives – plain and simple," said Tolleson Vice Mayor Linda Laborin. "Now, our elected officials in Washington must also stand with the people they represent and act immediately to back this sensible safety measure. There is no excuse for inaction on such a pressing issue."

"As a mayor, there is nothing more important than guaranteeing the safety of my community. That's why I believe our elected officials must do everything in their power to reduce gun violence in Arizona and across the country, and not infringe on the Second Amendment," said Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. "The fact of the matter is that comprehensive background checks help save lives by keeping guns away from felons, the seriously mentally ill, and other dangerous people. I urge our representatives in Washington to support common-sense gun reform and help keep Arizona safe."

Rates of gun violence in Arizona are higher than in the rest of the country: In 2011, Arizona's rate of aggravated assault with firearms was 13 percent higher than the national average, and 25 percent more than in states that require background checks for private handgun sales[1]; in 2010, the rate of women shot to death by intimate partners in Arizona was 29 percent higher than the national average, and 40 percent more than in states that require background checks for private handgun sales[2]; and the number of police officers killed with handguns in the state was nearly double the national rate.[3]

The No More Names tour will provide an opportunity for the more than 90 percent of Americans who support background checks to drive home a message to our elected officials that our country needs common-sense gun laws. At each stop, participants will hold rallies with a broad coalition of supporters – including police, survivors, domestic violence prevention advocates, mayors, and other elected officials – to commemorate those we've lost and call on our leaders to stand with the American people on sensible gun policies. They will both applaud senators who voted to support comprehensive and enforceable background checks, and urge those who opposed this measure to take a second look.

States on the tour include: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit www.NoMoreNames.org.

Evidence demonstrates that background checks help save lives. In states that already require background checks for all handgun sales:

  • Gun trafficking was 48 percent lower than in states that fail to require background checks for all handgun sales.[4]
  • The rate of women murdered by an intimate partner with a gun was 38 percent lower than in other states, while the rate murdered by other means was nearly identical.[5]
  • The firearm suicide rate was 49 percent lower than in other states, even though people committed suicide in other ways at almost precisely the same rate.[6]
  • Thirty-nine percent fewer law enforcement officers were shot to death with handguns.[7]

About Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Since its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 950 mayors from across the country. We have more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making us the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country.  The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united the nation's mayors around these common goals: protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns.  Learn more at www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org

[1] Federal Bureau of Investigation. Uniform Crime Reports. 2011. Available at: http://1.usa.gov/11JY3sw

[2] U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2011. Available at http://bit.ly/V1GvFe. Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Supplementary Homicide Report. 2010. Excludes New York due to incomplete data.

[3] Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2001-2011. Law enforcement killed with handguns that were not their own.

[4] Daniel Webster, Jon Vernick, and Maria Bulzacchelli, "Effects of State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm Trafficking," Journal of Urban Health, July 2009.

[5] U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2010.

[6] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2005) [cited 2012 Dec. 20].

[7] Federal Bureau of Investigation. LEOKA Database, 2001-2011 (Accessed Mar. 2013).

Alex Katz: akatz1@cityhall.nyc.gov or 212-788-7617
Stacey Radnor: radnor@homefrontdc.com or 202-870-6668
Lizzie Ulmer: lulmer@maig.org or 269-271-2331

SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns