May­ors have it right

Public Spirit - - OPINION -

Two months ago, af­ter Pres­i­dent Obama an­nounced his in­ten­tion to vig­or­ously pur­sue mea­sures to tighten gun con­trol laws in WhH DIWHUPDWh RI WhH VODuJhWHU RI 20 fiUVW-JUDGHUV DnG VLx DGuOWV DW a New­town, Conn., school, mem­bers of May­ors Against Il­le­gal duns were quick to echo the pres­i­dent’s sen­ti­ments.

Fed­eral leg­is­la­tors were al­ready heed­ing the cries for more com­mon sense gun con­trol. Some, such as U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Pa., had changed their stance on the need for gun con­trol re­form shortly af­ter Dec. 14, 2012. That’s when 20-yearROG $GDP /DnzD RSHnHG fiUH wLWh Dn $5-15 VWyOH BuVhPDVWHU VHPL-DuWRPDWLF ULflH DnG SuPSHG 150 URunGV LnWR 20 VWuGHnWV and six fac­ulty and staff mem­bers at Sandy Hook ble­men­tary School, killing them in a mat­ter of min­utes be­fore killing him­self. He had ear­lier killed his mother at home.

In Fe­bru­ary, Casey noted he was haunted by the fact that the chil­dren were shot “with a high-power weapon with very pow­er­ful am­mu­ni­tion at close range ... over and over again.”

“That re­al­ity sunk into me in ways that I don’t think I’ve ever been af­fected by a pub­lic pol­icy is­sue be­fore,” he said.

Casey said he was also haunted by a TV news report that showed Lanza’s likely path in­side the school.

“I think the ev­i­dence will show … that his in­ten­tion was to kill ev­ery child in that school,” Casey said.

Need­less to say, Penn­syl­va­nia’s Demo­cratic se­na­tor is on board with pro­posed leg­is­la­tion to re­quire back­ground checks for all gun pur­chases, re­gard­less of sales venue. May­orsA­gainst Il­le­gal duns now wants to make sure Penn­syl­va­nia Repub­li­can Sen. Pat Toomey, and U.S. sen­a­tors in 12 other states will un­der­stand the need for uni­ver­sal back­ground checks.

Last week the coali­tion be­gan air­ing a $12 mil­lion tele­vi­sion ad fea­tur­ing a gun owner say­ing that he, like more than 90 per­cent of Amer­i­cans, sup­ports com­pre­hen­sive back­ground checks of per­sons pur­chas­ing guns.

“For me guns are for hunt­ing and pro­tect­ing my fam­ily. I EHOLHYH Ln WhH 6HFRnG $PHnGPHnW DnG ,’OO fiJhW WR SURWHFW LW. 7hDW LV why , wLOO fiJhW IRU EDFNJURunG FhHFNV, VR WhH FULPLnDOV and the dan­ger­ously men­tally ill can’t buy guns. That pro­tects my rights and my fam­ily,” says the man in the ad as he sits in the back of a pickup truck with a shot­gun.

The coali­tion, which has more than 900 may­ors as mem­bers and more than 1.4 mil­lion grass­roots sup­port­ers, has noted that about 40 per­cent of U.S. gun trans­fers are con­ducted by un­li­censed pri­vate sellers who are not re­quired to con­duct fed­eral back­ground checks and of­ten do busi­ness at gun shows and on the In­ter­net.

March 28 the may­ors’ coali­tion staged its Na­tional Day to De­mand Ac­tion, ex­pected to be the big­gest anti-gun vi­o­lence ef­fort in his­tory. More than 100 events were planned to bring at­ten­tion to the need for tighter gun con­trol laws to curb vi­o­lence. $OVR, SHWLWLRn GULYHV wHUH FRnGuFWHG DnG 6HnDWH GLVWULFW RI­fiFHV in­un­dated with calls, urg­ing leg­is­la­tors to sup­port ex­panded back­ground checks and other com­mon sense gun leg­is­la­tion.

We ap­plaud the noise mem­bers of May­ors Against Il­le­gal duns are mak­ing to bring at­ten­tion to the need for long-over­due gun con­trol re­form, and we will con­tinue mak­ing noise about it, right along with them.

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