Pennsylvania Mayors Demand Action From Congress To Reduce Gun Violence
Mayors of Philadelphia, Allentown, Chester, Easton, Harrisburg and Lancaster Among 30 Mayors Featured in New PSA; www.DemandAction.org
NEW YORK, March 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mayors Against Illegal Guns today released a new PSA featuring 30 mayors demanding that Congress take immediate action to prevent gun violence. Pennsylvania mayors featured in the ad are Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Chester Mayor John Linder, Easton Mayor Sal Panto, Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson and Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray. The ad can be viewed here: www.DemandAction.org/Mayors.
The PSA marks a transition in the coalition's campaign from demanding a plan to demanding that Congress take action to pass legislation to require background checks for all sales, limit military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and make gun trafficking a federal crime. The bipartisan coalition now includes more than 900 mayors from 45 states and more than 1.4 million grassroots supporters.
The coalition's call for action follows new polls released this week showing that 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. The findings of these surveys can be found at www.demandaction.org/polls.
"Americans overwhelmingly support background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "Now it's time for Congress to stand with their constituents to pass a law requiring background checks for all gun sales – and to take other common sense steps that will save lives."
"Mayors are on the front lines in the fight against gun violence – that's why so many have joined our coalition since Newtown," Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. "The numbers don't lie – support for background checks and other sensible reforms is clear. That's why we're demanding our leaders in Washington help us to protect our communities and keep our children safe. Now is the time for action."
"There is an epidemic of gun violence in our communities. The American people are tired of our leaders in Washington talking rather than acting to solve this crisis," said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. "It's time for Congress to adopt a commonsense national gun policy that works to protect our communities and our children."
"With so much more left to be done in addressing gun violence, it is high time our national leadership step up and start working to protect our streets," said Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski. "The American people and the families of the 33 people killed every day by gun violence demand nothing less."
"Only weeks after the tragedy in Newtown and less than a year after Aurora, our elected officials still have not acted to prevent gun violence," said Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray. "We demand action in order to prevent these tragedies from ever occurring again."
Under current federal law, only licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct background checks on potential buyers. 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 "private sale loophole" allows dangerous people who are already 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 gun 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.
Mayors featured in the PSA released today include (in order of appearance):
Mayor Thomas Menino - Boston
Mayor Pete Buttigieg- South Bend, IN
Mayor Michael Nutter- Philadelphia
Mayor Jim Suttle- Omaha, NE
Mayor R.T. Rybak- Minneapolis, MN
Mayor David Coss- Santa Fe, NM
Mayor Paul Dyster- Niagara Falls, NY
Mayor Sal Panto- Easton, PA
Mayor John Linder- Chester, PA
Mayor Helene Schneider- Santa Barbara, CA
Mayor Craig Lowe- Gainesville, FL
Mayor Ed Pawlowski- Allentown, PA
Mayor Brenda Lawrence- Southfield, MI
Mayor Pedro Segarra- Hartford, CT
Mayor Linda Thompson- Harrisburg, PA
Mayor Ed Lee- San Francisco
Mayor Miro Weinberger- Burlington, VT
Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt- Chapel Hill, NC
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson- Gary, IN
Mayor Joy Cooper- Hallandale Beach, FL
Mayor Virgil Bernero- Lansing, MI
Mayor Christopher Cabaldon- West Sacramento, CA
Mayor Rick Gray- Lancaster, PA
Mayor Mike Ryan- Sunrise, FL
Mayor Joseph Riley- Charleston, SC
Mayor Bill Bell- Durham, NC
Mayor Jonathan Mitchell- New Bedford, MA
Mayor Beth Talabisco- Tamarac, FL
Mayor Gloria Chavez- Tijeras, NM
Mayor Michael Bloomberg- New York City
About Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Since its inception in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 mayors to more than 900 mayors from across the country. We have more than one 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 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. 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].
SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns