NEWTOWN, Conn., June 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the six-month anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mayors Against Illegal Guns joined with several families of Newtown victims to launch the "No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence" bus tour. Over a period of 100 days, the tour will travel to 25 states across the country in an effort to urge lawmakers to address the epidemic of gun violence in America that claims 33 lives every day. 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 ask those who opposed this measure to take a second look.
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. 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.
Also today, several families of Newtown victims, local elected officials, faith leaders, and other community members came together in Newtown, Connecticut for a day of remembrance to honor the memory of the 26 innocent children and educators who were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December. The service included a moment silence, an interfaith benediction, and remarks from family members who lost loved ones in the December massacre. Afterwards, participants read more than 5,000 names of victims of gun violence.
"Today, six months after the massacre in Newtown, Americans across our nation remember the 26 innocent schoolchildren and educators who were taken from us in a scenario that is every parent's nightmare," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "To honor their memory – and help prevent future tragedies – it's imperative that we keep the pressure on Washington to take action against gun violence. Our nationwide bus tour that launches today will help do that by raising public awareness and urging lawmakers to support common-sense gun legislation that will help save lives."
"The tragedy in Newtown opened Americans' eyes to the epidemic of gun violence that claims 33 lives every day," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "The State of Connecticut now leads on this issue after passing critical gun reform legislation. But in April, a minority of U.S. senators ignored their responsibility to the American people and blocked a sensible background checks bill. We must continue to demand that our leaders in Washington put their politics aside and stand up and take action."
"We will never forget the horrific events that took place six months ago in Newtown," said Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. "As mayors, we never forget the incidents of gun violence that occur in our cities. It's time for Washington to pass common-sense legislation that will make our communities safer."
"My mother was devoted to her students – so much so that she ultimately gave her life for them," said Erica Lafferty. "I'll have to live with the pain of her absence for as long as I live. But I know she'd be proud of the millions of Americans across the country who have stood up to demand action to reduce gun violence in the wake of Newtown. We can only hope our elected officials in Congress listen to the people they represent, pass common-sense gun reform, and demonstrate the same bravery my mom did that day at Sandy Hook."
"Nothing can undo the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence. We can only do our part to make sure no families have to go through what my family has endured after my sister was murdered courageously protecting her students," said Jillian Soto. "It has now been six months since her death and our elected officials in Washington still haven't passed common-sense gun safety legislation, like comprehensive and enforceable background checks. It's past time for them to take action to keep our families safe."
"No father deserves to see his child fall victim to gun violence. There are sensible steps we can take to keep our communities and our children safer, and it's about time we took those measures," said Gilles Rousseau. "I urge Congress to lead on this issue and make sure we do everything in our power to keep guns out of the wrong hands."
"Six months ago, my daughter Lauren was brutally murdered along with 25 other innocent people at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and my world and the world and of the other victims' families changed completely," said Terri Rousseau. "I didn't know how I would go on or even if life was still worth living. I wanted the rest of the world to change overnight, too – to be safer because of serious new gun legislation. Our family was heartened that our state and several other states moved quickly to make this happen. Lauren was a very hard-working and responsible woman. She always did what was right and what needed to be done. Now it's time for Congress to do what is needed to make all of America safer. We will keep speaking out until that happens. We urge other citizens to make their voices heard, too."
In addition to the memorial service in Newtown, Mayors Against Illegal Guns also held 10 statewide events to mark the six-month anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and remember its victims. These states include: Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
In April, a minority of U.S. senators blocked bipartisan legislation from Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) that would have helped keep guns out of dangerous hands by requiring background checks for commercial gun sales. Recent independent polls have found that more than 90 percent of Americans support background checks for all gun sales.
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