Advocate for Specific Actions at
WHITE PLAINS, NY — December 20, 2012 — Westchester County’s five city mayors joined forces
today to voice their support for specific federal actions that will move us
strongly toward ending gun violence in our communities.
White Plains Mayor Tom Roach, New Rochelle Mayor
Noam Bramson, Mount Vernon Mayor Ernie Davis, Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster and
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, all members of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns
coalition, have stepped up and signed on to a letter to President Obama, Senate
Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Boehner outlining concrete steps that they can
take to end gun violence.
Specifically, the Mayors are asking our leadership
in Washington to take the following actions:
* Require every gun buyer to pass
a criminal background check. Today, 40% of gun sales in the
U.S. go through without a background check under federal law. 62% of private
gun sellers on the Internet agreed to sell a firearm to buyers who said they
probably could not pass a background check. Background checks are the only
systematic way to stop felons, domestic abusers and other dangerous people from
buying firearms. These checks are instantaneous and highly effective.
* Get high capacity rifles and
ammunition magazines off our streets. Military-style weapons with
high-capacity magazines have no appropriate civilian or sporting function. They
are designed to kill large numbers of people quickly – and they are also
disproportionately used to kill law enforcement officers. We must review the
assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and pass a new law that is clear,
enforceable and takes these weapons out of our communities.
* Make gun trafficking a federal
crime. It may surprise you to learn that today, there is
no clear and effective statute making gun trafficking a crime. Prosecutors must
instead rely on a weak law prohibiting engaging in the business of selling guns
without a federal license, which happens to carry the same punishment as
trafficking chicken or livestock. The result is that gun trafficking is not
prosecuted in a large number of cases. We need to change this and empower law
enforcement to investigate and prosecute straw purchasers, gun traffickers and
their criminal networks.
In Westchester County, we are fortunate to have a
federal delegation that believes in and has advocated for such common sense
changes to our gun laws. We thank them for their advocacy on our behalf and are
now urging the rest of Congress and the President to make ending gun violence a
priority in 2013.
White Plains Mayor Roach said, “It is past time for
action. Continuing to do nothing is an affront to the victims of these
tragedies and their families. We have an obligation – to them, to our families
and to our country – to demand a plan.”
Rochelle Mayor Bramson said, "As we unite in
grieving for the families of Newtown, so too must we unite in taking
significant and permanent action to prevent such tragedies in the future. These
common sense measures will greatly improve the safety of our communities and
help ensure that firearms do not fall into the wrong hands."
Mount Vernon Mayor Davis said, “Offering
condolences to families of victims, many of whom have yet to reach their prime,
offers little consolation for lack of diligence to quell the proliferation of
weapons ending up in the hands of those who care not for the consequences of
their actions. We must take more aggressive action, emphasizing its importance
by taking proactive measures to preserve life, sooner
“We have seen a proliferation of these tragedies
after the ban on assault weapons expired in 2004. We cannot allow this to
continue. We demand that Congress take the actions necessary to help
re-establish safety in our public places…schools, movie theaters, churches,
parks” said Peekskill Mayor Foster.
tragic events have led to a long-needed wake-up call for us to take action,”
said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “Violent gun attacks should not be a norm in our
society and I am committed to working with other government leaders to ensure
the safety of our community, not just now, but for our future generations.”
The Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition is a
bipartisan coalition of more than 750 mayors – they are from cities big and
small and represent every corner of the country. Like us here in Westchester,
these mayors recognize that something has got to change. Together, we are
committed to being a positive force for that change.