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El Paso, Dayton, 214 Bipartisan Mayors Urge Senate To Address Gun Violence Epidemic

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, 214 bipartisan mayors from across the country sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), urging them to immediately call the Senate back to Washington to take action on bipartisan gun safety legislation. The letter is signed by Republican and Democratic mayors, including Mayor Dee Margo of El Paso, Texas and Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio.

U.S. Conference of Mayors. (PRNewsFoto/U.S. Conference of Mayors) (PRNewsfoto/U.S. Conference of Mayors)

"This past weekend, senseless gun violence claimed dozens of innocent lives and forever changed countless others. America's mayors are on the frontlines of this epidemic, and our communities can no longer wait for the federal government to take action. Keeping our cities safe is not a partisan issue. That is why we are together calling upon Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer to immediately bring the Senate back into session and take up bipartisan solutions to this crisis. The future of our nation and cities depends on it," said U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) President Bryan Barnett, Mayor of Rochester Hills (MI).

"We grieve with El Paso, Dayton and all communities that have suffered the pain of gun violence and hate. As a start, I call on the Senate to return to work and pass these two commonsense gun reform bills. How many more families must suffer before we act?" asked USCM Vice President Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville (KY).

"There is no worse thing that can happen to a city. Dayton is pulling together, but this violence has left a lasting void in our community. We cannot allow this tragic event to fade from our memories without taking action. We cannot just accept it and wait until horror strikes again. Politics has stood in the way of action for too long, and I can tell you politics seems very petty when it is your friends and neighbors who are injured or dead. We are urging everyone in Washington to come together and end this crisis," said USCM Second Vice President Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton (OH).

"The United States Conference of Mayors has supported common sense gun regulations since 1968 when Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy were assassinated," commented USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran.  "This year we have been focusing on two bills that could make a real difference in our cities: H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019.  Both bills passed the House in February and have been languishing in the Senate ever since. 214 mayors are saying today that enough is enough and it's time to pass these bills and help us reduce gun violence in our cities."

The letter urges the Senate to consider two bipartisan bills that previously passed the U.S. House of Representatives: H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019, and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019. H.R. 8 would close serious loopholes in the nation's background check system for gun purchases, and H.R. 1112 would lengthen the background check review period deadline.

For over five decades, the Conference has advocated for policies to combat gun violence, consistent with its support of the Second Amendment. At its 87th Annual Conference, mayors passed a series of resolutions to address this crisis.

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

Dear Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:

RE: Senate Action Needed NOW on Gun Safety Legislation

On behalf of The United States Conference of Mayors, we urge you to immediately call the Senate back to Washington to take action on bipartisan gun safety legislation. 

Already in 2019, there have been over 250 mass shootings. The tragic events in El Paso and Dayton this weekend are just the latest reminders that our nation can no longer wait for our federal government to take the actions necessary to prevent people who should not have access to firearms from being able to purchase them.

In late February, the House of Representatives passed two bills that would greatly strengthen the background check system: 

  • H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019
  • H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019 

H.R. 8 passed the House on February 27 on a bipartisan vote of 240-190. It would close serious loopholes in the background check system by:

  • requiring all firearm purchases to undergo a NICS background check; 
  • helping to prevent dangerous individuals from obtaining deadly weapons by circumventing the laws on the books;
  • prohibiting unlicensed transfers of guns through unregulated secondary sales; and 
  • increasing law enforcement's ability to trace crime guns.

H.R. 1112 passed the House on February 28 on a bipartisan vote of 228-198. If this bill had been law in 2015, the terrible tragedy that occurred at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston might have been avoided. The bill would extend the background check review period deadline from three to 10 business days, to help ensure that background checks are completed before weapons are sold and that dangerous individuals who should not have them are unable to purchase them. 

H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112 are bipartisan, sensible gun safety bills that would make our cities and our people safer, and would in no way compromise gun owners' rights. 

We urge you to call the Senate back to session now to take up and pass these bills to help reduce gun violence and the terrible toll it takes in our cities and our nation.

Quick passage of these bills is a critical step to reducing gun violence in our country. The United States Conference of Mayors stands ready to work with Congress, the Administration and others to develop holistic remedies to the scourge of gun violence. America has proven time and again that we can rise to our most difficult challenges. We look forward to working with you to find a way forward to protect our citizens from this senseless carnage.

Sincerely,

Bryan K. Barnett
Mayor of Rochester Hills, MI
President  

Greg Fischer
Mayor of Louisville, KY.  
Vice President                    

Nan Whaley
Mayor of Dayton, OH  
Second Vice President         

Tom Cochran 
CEO and Executive Director

Stephen K. Benjamin
Mayor of Columbia, SC
Past President      

Elizabeth B. Kautz
Mayor of Burnsville, MN
Past President

Dee Margo
Mayor of El Paso,  TX

Dan Horrigan
Mayor of Akron, OH

Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft
Mayor of Alameda, CA

Rochelle Nason
Mayor of Albany, CA

Kathy M. Sheehan
Mayor of Albany, NY

Tim Keller
Mayor of Albuquerque, NM

Justin Wilson
Mayor of Alexandria, VA

Gavin Buckley
Mayor of Annapolis, MD

Jeff Williams
Mayor of Arlington, TX

Keisha Lance Bottoms
Mayor of Atlanta, GA

Nancy Backus
Mayor of Auburn, WA

Hardie Davis Jr.
Mayor of Augusta, GA

Steve Adler
Mayor of Austin, TX

Bernard 'Jack' C. Young
Mayor of Baltimore, MD

Sharon Weston Broome
Mayor of Baton Rouge, LA

Denny Doyle
Mayor of Beaverton, OR

Jesse Arreguin
Mayor of Berkeley, CA

Michael P. Cahill
Mayor of Beverly, MA

John A. Mirisch
Mayor of Beverly Hills, CA

Michael J. Venezia
Mayor of Bloomfield, NJ

Martin J. Walsh
Mayor of Boston, MA

Suzanne  'Zan' Jones
Mayor of Boulder, CO

Robert Fazen
Mayor of Bound Brook, NJ

Joe Ganim
Mayor of Bridgeport, CT

Andy Linko
Mayor of Brownstown Township, MI

Trey Mendez
Mayor of Brownsville, TX

Miro Weinberger
Mayor of Burlington, VT

Paula Zelenko
Mayor of Burton, MI

Marc C. McGovern
Mayor of Cambridge, MA

Thomas M. Bernabei
Mayor of Canton, OH

James Brainard
Mayor of Carmel, IN

Lydia Lavelle
Mayor of Carrboro, NC

James A. Diossa
Mayor of Central Falls, RI

Deborah Frank Feinen
Mayor of Champaign, IL

Pam Hemminger
Mayor of Chapel Hill, NC

Andy Berke
Mayor of Chattanooga, TN

Lori E. Lightfoot
Mayor of Chicago, IL

Mary Casillas Salas
Mayor of Chula Vista, CA

John Cranley
Mayor of Cincinnati, OH

Frank G. Jackson
Mayor of Cleveland, OH

Patrick L. Wojahn
Mayor of College Park, MD

Andrew J. Ginther
Mayor of Columbus, OH

Biff Traber
Mayor of Corvallis, OR

Meghan Sahli-Wells
Mayor of Culver City, CA

Eric Johnson
Mayor of Dallas, TX

Judith 'Judy' Paul
Mayor of Davie, FL

Michael B. Hancock
Mayor of Denver, CO

T.M. 'Frank' Franklin Cownie
Mayor of Des Moines, IA

Mike Duggan
Mayor of Detroit, MI

Riley H. Rogers
Mayor of Dolton, IL

David Gregory Haubert
Mayor of Dublin, CA

Roy D. Buol
Mayor of Dubuque, IA

Emily Larson
Mayor of Duluth, MN

Steve Schewel
Mayor of Durham, NC

Marcia A. Leclerc
Mayor of East Hartford, CT

Lisa Yarborough-Gauthier
Mayor of East Palo Alto, CA

Salvatore J. Panto Jr.
Mayor of Easton, PA

James B. Hovland
Mayor of Edina, MN

J. Christian Bollwage
Mayor of Elizabeth, NJ

Stephen H. Hagerty
Mayor of Evanston, IL

Cassie Franklin
Mayor of Everett, WA

Carlo DeMaria Jr.
Mayor of Everett, MA

Tim Mahoney
Mayor of Fargo, ND

Lioneld Jordan
Mayor of Fayetteville, AR

Karen Weaver
Mayor of Flint, MI

Acquanetta Warren
Mayor of Fontana, CA

Thomas 'Tom' C. Henry
Mayor of Fort Wayne, IN

Betsy Price
Mayor of Fort Worth, TX

Sam Hindi
Mayor of Foster City, CA

Yvonne M. Spicer
Mayor of Framingham, MA

Lily Mei
Mayor of Fremont, CA

Jud Ashman
Mayor of Gaithersburg, MD

Karen M. Freeman-Wilson
Mayor of Gary, IN

Rosalynn Bliss
Mayor of Grand Rapids, MI

Eric Genrich
Mayor of Green Bay, WI

Nancy Vaughan
Mayor of Greensboro, NC

Shane T. Bemis
Mayor of Gresham, OR

Kristina Kovarik
Mayor of Gurnee, IL

Luke Bronin
Mayor of Hartford, CT

Barbara Halliday
Mayor of Hayward, CA

Don Ryan
Mayor of Hempstead, NY

Debra March
Mayor of Henderson, NV

Stacey Armato
Mayor of Hermosa Beach, CA

Nancy Rodkin Rotering
Mayor of Highland Park, IL

Steve Callaway
Mayor of Hillsboro, OR

Josh Levy
Mayor of Hollywood, FL

Kirk Caldwell
Mayor of Honolulu, HI

Sylvester Turner
Mayor of Houston, TX

Steve Williams
Mayor of Huntington, WV

Eileen Weir
Mayor of Independence, MO

Bobby J. Hopewell
Mayor of Kalamazoo, MI

Dontario 'Don' Hardy
Mayor of Kinston, NC

Madeline Anne Rogero
Mayor of Knoxville, TN

Linda Evans
Mayor of La Quinta, CA

Andy Schor
Mayor of Lansing, MI

Kenneth D. Miyagishima
Mayor of Las Cruces, NM

Carolyn G. Goodman
Mayor of Las Vegas, NV

Hazelle Rogers
Mayor of Lauderdale Lakes, FL

David J. Berger
Mayor of Lima, OH

John P. Marchand
Mayor of Livermore, CA

Robert Garcia
Mayor of Long Beach, CA

Eric Garcetti
Mayor of Los Angeles, CA

William Samaras
Mayor of Lowell, MA

Thomas M. McGee
Mayor of Lynn, MA

Nicola Smith
Mayor of Lynnwood, WA

Satya Rhodes-Conway
Mayor of Madison, WI

Joyce Craig
Mayor of Manchester, NH

Ray Mueller
Mayor of Menlo Park, CA

Kevin M. Scarpati
Mayor of Meriden, CT

John Giles
Mayor of Mesa, AZ

Francis X. Suarez
Mayor of Miami, FL

Thomas 'Tom' Barrett
Mayor of Milwaukee, WI

Jacob Frey
Mayor of Minneapolis, MN

John Engen
Mayor of Missoula, MT

James 'Jamie' E. Mayo
Mayor of Monroe, LA

Lisa Matichak
Mayor of Mountain View, CA

Steve Gawron
Mayor of Muskegon, MI

Jill Techel
Mayor of Napa, CA

Jim Donchess
Mayor of Nashua, NH

David Briley
Mayor of Nashville, TN

Jon Mitchell
Mayor of New Bedford, MA

Toni N. Harp
Mayor of New Haven, CT

LaToya Cantrell
Mayor of New Orleans, LA

Bill de Blasio
Mayor of New York, NY

Alan L. Nagy
Mayor of Newark, CA

Ras J. Baraka
Mayor of Newark, NJ

McKinley L. Price DDS
Mayor of Newport News, VA

Ruthanne Fuller
Mayor of Newton, MA

Paul A. Dyster
Mayor of Niagara Falls, NY

Chris Koos
Mayor of Normal, IL

Breea Clark
Mayor of Norman, OK

Francis 'Mac' Womack III
Mayor of North Brunswick, NJ

Anan Abu-Taleb
Mayor of Oak Park, IL

Libby Schaaf
Mayor of Oakland, CA

Buddy Dyer
Mayor of Orlando, FL

Eric Filseth
Mayor of Palo Alto, CA

Christine Hunschofsky
Mayor of Parkland, FL

Ashira Mohammed
Mayor of Pembroke Park, FL

Frank C. Ortis
Mayor of Pembroke Pines, FL

Teresa Barrett
Mayor of Petaluma, CA

Jim Kenney
Mayor of Philadelphia, PA

Kate Gallego
Mayor of Phoenix, AZ

Brian C. Wahler
Mayor of Piscataway, NJ

William Peduto
Mayor of Pittsburgh, PA

Adrian O. Mapp
Mayor of Plainfield, NJ

Harry LaRosiliere
Mayor of Plano, TX

Rex Hardin
Mayor of Pompano Beach, FL

Ted Wheeler
Mayor of Portland, OR

Jorge O. Elorza
Mayor of Providence, RI

Hillary Schieve
Mayor of Reno, NV

Levar Stoney
Mayor of Richmond, VA

Thomas K. Butt
Mayor of Richmond, CA

Lovely A. Warren
Mayor of Rochester, NY

Robert J. Ray
Mayor of Rochester, MI

Kim Norton
Mayor of Rochester, MN

Bridget Donnell Newton
Mayor of Rockville, MD

Tammy Dana-Bashian
Mayor of Rowlett, TX

Darrell Steinberg
Mayor of Sacramento, CA

Kimberly Driscoll
Mayor of Salem, MA

Jacob R. Day
Mayor of Salisbury, MD

Jackie Biskupski
Mayor of Salt Lake City, UT

Ron Nirenberg
Mayor of San Antonio, TX

London Breed
Mayor of San Francisco, CA

Jason Pu
Mayor of San Gabriel, CA

Sam Liccardo
Mayor of San Jose, CA

Carmen Yulin Cruz
Mayor of San Juan, PR

Pauline Russo Cutter
Mayor of San Leandro, CA

Miguel A. Pulido
Mayor of Santa Ana, CA

Cathy Murillo
Mayor of Santa Barbara, CA

Martine Watkins
Mayor of Santa Cruz, CA

Alan Webber
Mayor of Santa Fe, NM

Gleam Davis
Mayor of Santa Monica, CA

Gary R. McCarthy
Mayor of Schenectady, NY

Jenny A. Durkan
Mayor of Seattle, WA

Michael Vandersteen
Mayor of Sheboygan, WI

Adrian Perkins
Mayor of Shreveport, LA

Jeffrey Z. Slavin
Mayor of Somerset, MD

Joseph A. Curtatone
Mayor of Somerville, MA

Pete Buttigieg
Mayor of South Bend, IN

Lyda Krewson
Mayor of St. Louis, MO

Melvin Carter
Mayor of St. Paul, MN

Rick Kriseman
Mayor of St. Petersburg, FL

David Martin
Mayor of Stamford, CT

Michael D. Tubbs
Mayor of Stockton, CA

Joseph T. McElveen Jr.
Mayor of Sumter, SC

Michael J. Ryan
Mayor of Sunrise, FL

Victoria Woodards
Mayor of Tacoma, WA

John E. Dailey
Mayor of Tallahassee, FL

Michelle J. Gomez
Mayor of Tamarac, FL

Jane Castor
Mayor of Tampa, FL

Mark W. Mitchell
Mayor of Tempe, AZ

Wade Kapszukiewicz
Mayor of Toledo, OH

Michelle De La Isla
Mayor of Topeka, KS

Patrick J. Furey
Mayor of Torrance, CA

Jonathan Rothschild
Mayor of Tucson, AZ

Carol Dutra-Vernaci
Mayor of Union City, CA

Diane W. Marlin
Mayor of Urbana, IL

Muriel Bowser
Mayor of Washington, DC

Quentin M. Hart
Mayor of Waterloo, IA

Shari Cantor
Mayor of West Hartford, CT

Christopher L. Cabaldon
Mayor of West Sacramento, CA

Michelle W. Brindle
Mayor of Westfield, NJ

William R. Wild
Mayor of Westland, MI

Daniel J. Stermer
Mayor of Weston, FL

Thomas M. Roach
Mayor of White Plains, NY

Michael S. Purzycki
Mayor of Wilmington, DE

Zachary J. Vruwink
Mayor of Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Jamael Tito Brown
Mayor of Youngstown, OH

John F. Dunbar
Mayor of Yountville, CA

Cc:  United States Senate


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 nearly 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 at  facebook.com/usmayors , or follow us on Twitter at  twitter.com/usmayors .

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