The mayors of America’s cities are deeply concerned about rising crime and homicide rates—and deeply frustrated with the Congress’ continued inaction on gun control amid a spate of mass shootings. Stronger gun regulation is needed right now, mayors say, and Congress has hung them out to dry. Senators and representatives “will not be able to escape responsibility for the deaths of innocent Americans,” said Mayor Stephanie Miner of Syracuse, New York.
“Failure to address an issue that amounts to slow-motion mass murder of American citizens, many of whom are black and brown, is political cowardice. Stand up! Do the right thing,” said Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, Missouri.
Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas said she had a simple message for Congress: “Get a backbone—do your job.”
Those answers were part of an exclusive Politico Magazine survey, which also found that more than 90 percent of mayors say that Congress is doing too little on issues of firearm regulation and gun violence. As Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, a city that has seen a surging homicide rate this year, implored: “Stand up against the fear-mongering NRA.” That emotion was seconded by Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mayor George Heartwell, who said, “Buck up and stand up to the NRA. Listen to the voice of the people of America.”
The mayor of Stamford, Connecticut, was even more blunt to Congress: “Just do it.”
The answers come from Politico Magazine’s third installment of an ongoing national Mayors’ Survey, part of the award-winning What Works series. The survey garnered responses from 45 mayors across the country, from Las Vegas to Tallahassee, Houston to San Francisco, Phoenix to Chattanooga, Grand Rapids to Portland, Maine. While not scientific (the large majority of respondents, 85 percent, were Democrats, joined by four independents and three Republicans), the survey represents an array of cities about as diverse as size, politics and geography can allow, including states of every hue—red, blue and purple.
Nearly across the board, the urban and suburban mayors—where the vast preponderance of the nation’s crime and gun violence occurs—were disturbed by rising homicide trends; 91 percent of the mayors said they were either “deeply concerned” or “concerned” about crime and homicide trends in their city. One in four of the mayors surveyed said their city had suffered a “mass shooting” incident since they came into office—and those mayors were substantially more likely to say they were “deeply concerned” about crime and shootings.
“We are losing an entire American generation to this endless cycle of violence,” said Mayor Mitch Landreiu of New Orleans. “It’s a direct threat to our national well-being and security.”
“The time to act is now,” Richmond, Virginia, Mayor Dwight Jones said. “We cannot wait to continue to allow illegals guns to subvert our neighborhoods and communities.”
U.S. police chiefs call for background checks for all gun purchases
October 26, 2015 By Fiona Ortiz- Reuters
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Police chiefs from across the United States called on Monday for universal background checks for firearms purchases, saying opinion polls consistently show that most Americans support such restrictions.
The proliferation of firearms is one of the factors behind a rise in homicide rates in many U.S. cities this year, according to senior law enforcement officials at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago.
Acknowledging the power of the gun lobby and the reluctance of Congress to enact stricter gun laws, the police chiefs told a news conference they were not anti-gun but wanted to keep weapons out of the hands of people with criminal backgrounds.
Current rules on background checks apply to licensed dealers, but up to 40 percent of firearms sales involve private parties or gun shows and do not require checks, the chiefs said.
“This is a no-brainer, this is the simplest thing in the world,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said. “It troubles me all the time.”
Backing the effort is an alliance of organizations representing police chiefs and executives, such as the Major Cities Chiefs Association and groups representing women, Hispanic and African-American law enforcement executives and police chiefs, as well as campus law enforcement administrators.
June 12, 2016
June 15, 2016
- 5:04 PM EDT
Senators Speak After Briefing on Mass Shooting Investigation
- 5:15 PM EDT
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D) Speaks to Reporters About Gun Control Debate
- 5:24 PM EDT
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) Speaks to Reporters About Gun Control Debate
- 5:40 PM EDT
Senator Tom Carper (D) Briefs Reporters on Orlando Mass Shooting Investigation
June 16, 2016
- 11:06 AM EDT
Gun Violence Victims’ Relatives Join Senate Democrats to Push for Reforms
A group of Senate Democrats held a news conference to talk about their legislation to expand gun controls.
June 20, 2016
- 3:00 PM EDT
U.S. Senate Takes Up Gun Control Legislation
In the wake of June 12 mass shooting in Orlando, the Senate takes up several gun control amendments, including proposed changes to the terrorist watchlist, universal background checks, and adding mental health considerations for gun purchases. http://www.c-span.org/video/?411372-1/us-senate-takes-gun-control-legislation
June 21, 2016
- 1:50 PM EDT
Senate Bipartisan Gun Control Proposal Maine Sen. Susan Collins says she hopes the House will give her bipartisan proposal to prevent individuals on the no fly list from buying a gun a vote. She reminded her House colleagues that a majority of Americans support such legislation. The Senator was joined by seven other Senators from both parties for this proposal unveiling. A vote on the Senate floor has yet to be determined. http://www.c-span.org/video/?411567-1/bipartisan-group-senators-unveils-gun-control-proposal
June 22, 2016
- Democrats drown out Paul Ryan with chants of “shame, shame” on House floor
- U.S. House Democrats Engage in Sit-In Over Gun Violence
“About 400,000 Americans have been shot and killed by guns since 9/11 — 400,000. Just to give you a sense of perspective, since 9/11, fewer than 100 Americans have been murdered by terrorists on American soil — 400,000 have been killed by gun violence. That’s like losing the entire population of Cleveland or Minneapolis over the past 14 years.
And I refuse to accept the notion that we couldn’t have prevented some of those murders, some of those suicides, kept more families whole — (applause) — protected more officers if we had passed some common-sense laws. (Applause.)
So, look, I understand we won’t all agree on this issue. But it’s time to be honest — fewer gun safety laws don’t mean more freedom, they mean more danger. Certainly more danger to police, more fallen officers, more grieving families, more Americans terrified that they or their loved ones could be next. So I’m going to keep calling on the folks in Congress to change the way that they think about gun safety. And if they don’t, I’m going to keep on calling on Americans to change the folks in Congress until they get it right. (Applause.)
And please do not — some of you watching certain television stations or listening to certain radio programs, please do not believe this notion that somehow I’m out to take everybody’s guns away. Every time a mass shooting happens, one of the saddest ironies is that suddenly the purchase of firearms and ammunition jumps up because folks are scared into thinking that Obama is going to use this as an excuse to take away our Second Amendment rights. Nobody is doing that. We’re talking about common-sense measures to make sure criminals don’t get them; to make sure background checks work; to make sure that — (applause) — to make sure that we’re protecting ourselves.
So supporting law enforcement and having a budget that backs it up, not just — because talk is cheap, but actually following through to make sure you’ve got the resources you need. Reforming our criminal justice system so it is smarter and we can reduce crime while still reducing the incarceration rate. Restoring trust between communities. Refusing to give up on gun safety. We can take those steps. That’s within our reach. ”