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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

152 Mayors Send Letter to U.S. Senators Urging Action on Gun Violence Prevention Legislation

April 13, 2021 GMT
U.S. Conference of Mayors. (PRNewsFoto/U.S. Conference of Mayors) (PRNewsfoto/U.S. Conference of Mayors)
U.S. Conference of Mayors. (PRNewsFoto/U.S. Conference of Mayors) (PRNewsfoto/U.S. Conference of Mayors)

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- 152 mayors, including Democrats, Republicans and Independents, sent a letter today to members of the United States Senate, urging immediate consideration of two pieces of legislation to prevent gun violence: HR 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, and HR 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act. Both bills would strengthen our nation’s gun background check system, a policy that is supported by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans.

The letter comes on the heels of mass shootings in Georgia, Colorado, Texas, and South Carolina, and follows President Joe Biden’s recent executive actions to address gun violence.

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In their letter, the mayors write, “Americans are increasingly alarmed by mass shootings and by the steady increase in homicides and shootings plaguing too many neighborhoods. As mayors, it is our top priority to ensure public safety; protecting our residents from gun violence is at the very heart of this commitment. It is time for our federal partners in Congress to take long overdue action to reduce gun violence and the terrible toll it takes on our cities and in our nation.”

The full text of the letter can be found here and below:

Dear Senator:

We write to register the strong support of America’s mayors for HR 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, and HR 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act. We urge the Senate to schedule a vote on these bills as soon as possible and ask for your support for both pieces of legislation. An overwhelming majority of our constituents support these bills that can help save lives by ensuring that individuals who are prohibited from owning firearms cannot circumvent the system. We cannot afford further delay on Capitol Hill on these bills, which will help prevent violence and better protect the American public.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has had strong policy for many years in support of strengthening the background check system, which HR 8 would do. It would close serious loopholes in the background check system by requiring all firearm purchases—both handguns and long guns—to undergo a NICS background check, help prevent dangerous individuals from circumventing the laws on the books and obtaining deadly weapons, and reduce firearms trafficking by prohibiting unlicensed transfers through unregulated secondary sales. The legislation would also help improve the ability of law enforcement to trace guns involved in crimes, a process dependent on the review of sales records from licensed gun dealers.

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HR 1446 would further strengthen the background check system by helping us to ensure that background checks are completed before weapons are sold and that dangerous individuals who should not have them are unable to purchase them. If this bill had been law in June of 2015, the terrible tragedy that occurred at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston could have been avoided.

Americans are increasingly alarmed by mass shootings and by the steady increase in homicides and shootings plaguing too many neighborhoods. As mayors, it is our top priority to ensure public safety; protecting our residents from gun violence is at the very heart of this commitment. It is time for our federal partners in Congress to take long overdue action to reduce gun violence and the terrible toll it takes on our cities and in our nation.

We believe that HR 8 and HR 1446 are sensible gun safety bills that will make our cities safer and in no way compromise gun owners’ rights. The nation’s mayors call upon you to pass them now.

About the United States Conference of Mayors -- The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are more than 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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SOURCE U.S. Conference of Mayors