New Ad Highlights Pennsylvania's Strong Background Check System And Applauds Senator Toomey's Call For Reform

Apr 08, 2013, 23:34 ET from Mayors Against Illegal Guns

New Mayors Against Illegal Guns Ad Calls on Toomey to Support Background Checks Bill Ahead of Critical Senate Vote

88 Percent of Pennsylvanians Support Checks for All Gun Sales;

NEW YORK, April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mayors Against Illegal Guns today released a new ad that highlights Pennsylvania's strong background check laws, applauds Republican Senator Pat Toomey's past calls for reforming the gun background check system, and urges Toomey to cosponsor bipartisan legislation being written by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia that would require background checks for all commercial gun sales – including at gun shows, online, and through classified ads. A recent poll shows 88 percent of Pennsylvanians support comprehensive and enforceable checks for all gun buyers. The bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns includes 208 Pennsylvania mayors in its coalition. The ad can be viewed at

Background checks prevent felons, domestic abusers, the severely mentally ill, and other dangerous people from buying guns. Yet 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 evading licensed dealers.

Pennsylvania and 13 other states go beyond federal law and require background checks for all private handgun sales. These 14 states have lower rates of aggravated firearm assault, crime gun exports, DV gun murder, and firearm suicide than in states that do not require background checks for private handgun sales. In Pennsylvania:

  • Firearm aggravated assaults are 29 percent lower than in states that do not require background checks for all handgun sales and 23 percent lower than the U.S. average.
  • Crime gun exports are 29 percent lower than in states that do not require background checks for private handgun sales, and the same as the U.S. average.
  • Domestic violence gun murders are 49 percent lower than in states where no background check is required for private handgun sales and 37 percent lower than the U.S. average.
  • Firearm suicides are 25 percent lower than in states that do not require background checks for private handgun sales, and similar to the U.S. average.

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.  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.

Below is text of the ad:

NARRATOR: On gun safety, Pennsylvania has a strong background check system. But guns don't respect state borders. Now, the US Senate can pass comprehensive background check legislation that will stop criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from using loopholes to get guns. Senator Toomey understands how important that change is – 

TOOMEY: "I'm in favor of making changes to a background system."  

NARRATOR: In Pennsylvania, almost 90 percent of us support comprehensive background checks. Call Senator Toomey. Tell him it's time to take Pennsylvania solutions to Washington. 

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


Mayor Bloomberg's Press Office 

(212) 788-2958

Mayor Menino's Press Office

(617) 635-4461

Erika Soto Lamb: or 646-580-5281 
Alex Katz: or 617-721-3779

SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns