Mayors Against Illegal Guns Launches Nationwide Drive to Call Attention to Broken Gun Background Check System
Feb 16, 2011, 09:15 ET
FixGunChecks.org Truck Starts 2-Month Tour in New York City's Times Square
Already more than 250,000 Americans Have Signed Petition to Fix Gun Checks
Truck Visits Newark Today; Pennsylvania This Week; Ohio Next Week
NEW YORK, Feb. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mayors Against Illegal Guns co-chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today launched the FixGunChecks.org Truck Tour in New York City's Times Square. The FixGunChecks.org truck features a mobile billboard that will travel the country for two months to draw public attention to the deadly problems in the nation's gun background check system. The truck features a clock that will toll the tragic count of Americans that have been murdered with guns since the Tucson shooting. Thirty-four people are murdered with guns every day in the United States. The truck tour is part of an online campaign, www.fixgunchecks.org that urges Congress to take two simple but critical steps to fix the broken background check system: 1) ensure that the names of all people prohibited from buying a gun are in the database; and 2) subject every gun sale to a background check. Since the campaign launched in January, more than 250,000 people have signed an online petition and urged the President and Congress to fix the system.
"Every day, 34 Americans are murdered with guns – and most of them are purchased or possessed illegally," said Mayor Bloomberg. "It is time for Washington to listen to the 250,000 Americans that have signed our petition and take action: since the Tucson shooting more than 1,300 people have been killed with guns in the United States and that number continues to grow."
"Every single day 34 people in the United States are killed with guns," said coalition co-chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "The Fix Gun Checks Tour will serve as a reminder to lawmakers and the public that closing the holes in the background check system is an issue of life and death."
Two Simple Ideas: Send the Records, Close the Gaps
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan coalition of more than 550 mayors, is urging Congress to take two critical steps to fix the background check system. First, the system should contain all the records of those prohibited by law from purchasing guns, including felons, mentally ill, domestic abusers, and drug abusers. Congress should set a goal of getting this job finished within three years.
Millions of records involving prohibited purchasers are missing from the database for the National Instant Background Check System (NICS). In April 2007, the Virginia Tech shooter, who had a history of serious mental illness, was able to pass a background check and buy the firearms he used to kill 32 people because records of his mental illness had never been submitted to NICS. Jared Loughner, the Tucson shooter, was disqualified from military service after he admitted that he was a habitual drug user and should have barred him from buying firearms. The Army never submitted information about his drug abuse to the background check system.
In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, Congress passed the NICS Improvement Act, which was intended to incent states to submit records of prohibited gun purchasers into the background check system, but Congress failed to provide enough funding to support these efforts, and has not imposed tough penalties for noncompliance. Almost four years after Virginia Tech, ten states have not submitted any mental health records to NICS, and 18 states have submitted fewer than 100 records.
Second, Congress should subject every gun sale to a background check by closing the loopholes that now permit millions of firearms to be sold without them. Today, all federally licensed gun dealers are required to submit purchasers to instant background checks. But "occasional sellers," who sell firearms at gun shows, through classified ads, in parking lots or on the Internet, do not have to conduct checks under current law. The Mayors Against Illegal Guns proposal would subject all gun sales to a background check, with reasonable exceptions for transfers of guns within families, through inheritance, or to people who already have a valid gun permit that meets or exceeds the federal background check standards. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), 30 percent of guns involved in the agency's illegal gun trafficking investigations are connected to gun shows.
The Fix Gun Checks Tour
The FixGunChecks.org truck will travel across the United States to draw attention to the tragic toll of gun violence. The tour will include events with mayors, law enforcement officials, gun violence victims, and faith leaders who will all come together to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Follow the tour or check on the progress of the Mobile Truck Team at www.fixgunchecks.org.
About Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Since its inception in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 mayors to over 550. Mayors Against Illegal Guns 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.
Mayor Bloomberg's Press Office
Mayor Menino's Press Office
SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns
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