AUGUSTA, Maine, June 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Family members of gun violence victims, elected officials, faith leaders, and local advocates gathered at the Augusta Area Unitarian Universalist Community Church today to thank Senators Susan Collins and Angus King for supporting bipartisan, common-sense background check legislation that would help keep guns out of the wrong hands and reduce gun violence across the country. The rally was part of Mayors Against Illegal Guns' "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 sensible gun policies.
Participants and attendees included Augusta Mayor William M. Stokes, former Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert, Cathie Whittenberg of States United to Prevent Gun Violence, Reverend Carie Johnsen, and Judi Richardson – whose 25-year-old daughter Darien was shot and killed in 2010 in Portland. As part of the rally, participants also read the names of thousands of victims of gun violence. Every day, 33 Americans are murdered with guns in this country.
This past April, Senators Collins and King stood with the 85 percent of Mainers who support background checks and voted in favor of a bipartisan bill sponsored by NRA A-rated Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey 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 voted to block the bill.
"We remain grateful to Senators Collins and King for their votes in support of comprehensive background checks that will keep Maine communities safe and help reduce gun violence across the country," said Augusta Mayor William M. Stokes. "We need their colleagues in Congress to follow their leadership and make common-sense gun policies a national priority. American lives depend on it."
"Though a minority of U.S. senators managed to block something as sensible as comprehensive and enforceable background check legislation in April, Americans are committed to pushing for gun reform and we won't give up until we get it," said former Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert. "With continued support from leaders like Senators Collins and King, we will fight to keep guns out of the wrong hands – and make sure Congress represents the will of the more than 90 percent of Americans who want background checks for all gun sales."
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Thirty-nine percent fewer law enforcement officers were shot to death with handguns.
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
 Daniel Webster, Jon Vernick, and Maria Bulzacchelli, "Effects of State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm Trafficking," Journal of Urban Health, July 2009.
 U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2010.
 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].
 Federal Bureau of Investigation. LEOKA Database, 2001-2011 (Accessed Mar. 2013).
SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns