U.S. Mayors react to shooting epidemic, call for national public safety agenda

Statement by Manny Diaz, Mayor of Miami and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors

WASHINGTON, D.C. – America’s mayors are alarmed by the string of mass shootings that have occurred in recent weeks in cities across the nation. This epidemic serves as a stark reminder that the easy availability of guns often turns domestic and personal disputes into acts of murder.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, their neighbors, and their communities in:

· Samson, AL, where 10 people were killed on March 10;

· Oakland, CA where four police officers were killed on March 21;

· Carthage, NC – eight nursing home residents were killed on March 29; Santa Clara, CA, where five family members were killed March 29;

· Binghamton, NY, where 13 people were killed April 3;

· Graham, WA, where five children were killed April 4;

· Pittsburgh, PA, where three police officers were killed April 4; and

· Miami, FL – my city, where in the last few weeks 12 members of three families have been killed in three separate incidents.

In most of these incidents the shooters lives were also taken, in four cases by their own hand, in one by police. And these are the dramatic shootings that garner considerable public attention. We haven’t heard as much about the 84 deaths involving firearms, including 34 homicides, which occur on an average day in our nation.

The Conference of Mayors has advocated for strong gun safety policy for more than 40 years. Late last year we made gun safety a key element in our National Action Agenda on Crime for the Next President of the United States. There are six points in the agenda, which mayors and police chiefs are calling for:

1. A strengthened, effective ban on military-style assault weapons, such as AK-47s, and their component parts must be reinstated.

2. Common sense gun legislation, such as that advocated by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, should be enacted. Such legislation should close the gun show loophole; keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, and no longer permit gun dealers whose licenses are revoked to conduct fire sales.

3. Legislation should be enacted which would limit the number of guns a person may purchase in a single transaction or in a month or other specified period of time.

4. Law enforcement agencies’ access to gun trace data should not be limited in any way by either state or federal law – for example, by any version of the so-called Tiahrt amendment.

5. Anyone purchasing a firearm in the United States should be required to go through a background check. Full funding should be provided for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and states should be required to submit records, including those involving persons with serious mental health problems, to the NICS.

6. The Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS) should be expanded to include ballistic images for all new guns, not just those involved in crimes. The federal government should support the development of new technologies, such as micro stamping, which can help solve crimes.

This latest epidemic of shootings has left all of us asking: How many more gun-related acts of violence must we experience before the nation’s leaders will decide that it is time to act? We urge quick action on these proposals by Congress and the Administration.

Related Articles

Back to top button