Ads Part of National Campaign Calling on Political Leaders to Support Commonsense Reforms; Polls Show Overwhelming National Support for Background Checks
Coalition Also Organizing National Day to Demand Action on Thursday, March 28 with More than 100 Events Across the Country; www.DemandAction.org
NEW YORK, March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mayors Against Illegal Guns today announced that ads will begin to air in Pennsylvania today demanding that Senator Pat Toomey take action to pass commonsense gun reforms. Ads will air in key states during the upcoming Congressional recess and can be found here: www.demandaction.org/recessads
"These ads bring the voices of Americans – who overwhelmingly support comprehensive and enforceable background checks – into the discussion to move Senators to immediately take action to prevent gun violence," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "We demanded a plan and we got one. We demanded a vote and we'll get one. Now we're doing what we can to pass a bill that will save lives."
"While they are home for this recess, members of Congress will hear directly from their constituents who support sensible gun law reforms like expanded background checks," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "The legislation is on the table – it's time for our leaders in Washington to act."
"Congress has an unprecedented opportunity to reduce crime across the country by passing no-brainer gun reform," said Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray. "Harsher gun trafficking penalties and an expanded and enforceable background check system will make it harder for felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people to get their hands on firearms. And that could be the difference between life or death."
"No politician can look me -- or any other survivor of gun violence -- in the eyes and say that requiring background checks for all gun sales won't save lives," said gun violence survivor and Pennsylvanian Fay Dawson. "It's time for politicians to decide whether they value political endorsements over the lives of their constituents."
The ad airing in Pennsylvania, "Responsible," features a gun owner who understands that supporting background checks goes hand in hand with defending the Second Amendment – and his family. The $12 million ad buy will air spots in the following states – represented by both Democrats and Republicans – where they can most influence the upcoming Senate vote:
- Arizona – Senator Jeff Flake (R)
- Arkansas – Senator Mark Pryor (D)
- Georgia – Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) and Senator Johnny Isakson (R)
- Indiana – Senator Joe Donnelly (D) and Senator Dan Coats (R)
- Iowa – Senator Chuck Grassley (R)
- Louisiana – Senator Mary Landrieu (D)
- Maine – Senator Susan Collins (R)
- New Hampshire – Senator Kelly Ayotte (R)
- Nevada – Senator Dean Heller (R)
- North Carolina – Senator Kay Hagan (D)
- North Dakota – Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D)
- Ohio – Senator Rob Portman (R)
- Pennsylvania – Senator Pat Toomey (R)
The ads also precede the coalition's plans for more than 100 events across the country on Thursday, March 28 as part of its National Day to Demand Action. Grassroots supporters of Mayors Against Illegal Guns will organize events and petition drives and generate an unprecedented number of calls into Senate district offices to call for their representatives to support commonsense gun laws like expanded background checks. In Pennsylvania, events will be held in Easton and Philadelphia. The day is expected to be the largest gun violence advocacy event in history and is part of the largest field campaign in U.S. history to address gun violence. The coalition recently announced that it is hiring organizers and opening campaign offices in ten key states.
Around 40 percent of U.S. gun transfers are conducted by unlicensed "private sellers" who are not required to conduct a federal check, and who often do business at gun shows and on the Internet – indicating that about 6.6 million guns are transferred in the U.S. every year with no background check for the buyer. This loophole allows dangerous people who are prohibited from buying guns – including felons, domestic abusers and the seriously mentally ill – to avoid a background check by simply avoiding licensed dealers.
Evidence demonstrates that background checks save lives. For example, in the fourteen states that already require background checks for all handgun sales:
- Gun trafficking is 48 percent lower than in states that fail to require background checks for all handgun sales.
- In 2010, 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.
- In 2011, of states with sufficient data, those that required background checks for all handgun sales had 17 percent fewer firearm aggravated assaults, controlling for population.
Recent polls by Mayors Against Illegal Guns showed likely voters in a wide range of states and congressional districts overwhelmingly support background checks for all gun sales. The average support for background checks for all gun sales among 41 congressional district polls was 89 percent; the average among 21 statewide polls was 86 percent. In Pennsylvania, 88 percent support background checks for all sales. The findings of these surveys can be found here.
These findings are in line with recent independent polls that have found more than 90 percent of Americans support background checks for all buyers. Previous polling by Republican Frank Luntz for Mayors Against Illegal Guns also found that 82 percent of gun owners – including 74 percent of National Rifle Association members – support requiring criminal background checks for anyone purchasing a gun.
Recent Mayors Against Illegal Guns research found that an estimated 99.97 percent of Pennsylvania residents live within ten miles of a gun dealer – disproving the gun lobby's claim that background checks would be burdensome for private gun sellers and bolstering the case for checks on all gun sales.
About Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Since its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 900 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
Contact: Mayor Bloomberg's Press Office, (212) 788-2958
Mayor Menino's Press Office, (617) 635-4461
 Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig, Guns in America, 1996, available at http://www.policefoundation.org/pdf/GunsinAmerica.pdf. 2,568 individuals, including 251 gun owners, were surveyed by telephone and asked how they obtained their firearms.
 In the 38 states that have not fully closed the private sale loophole, an estimated 9,856,984 background checks were conducted between November 2011 and November 2012, out of an estimated 16.5 million total firearm transfers in those states. 40 percent of this total—6.6 million transfers—occurred without background checks. Calculation based on FBI data. Available: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/reports/20130205_1998_2013_state_program_to_date_purpose_ids.pdf
 Daniel Webster, Jon Vernick, & 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, 2011.
 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].
 Uniform Crime Reports, FBI, 2011. An aggravated assault is an unlawful attack with the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury and using a weapon or means of inflicting severe harm, including assaults or attempts to kill or murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and mayhem. Law enforcement agencies in 46 states and DC submitted sufficient data for analysis — NY, IL, HI, and MS did not.
SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns