The above video is an ad that you'll see during the Super Bowl: "Demand a Plan" is a campaign of Mayors Against Illegal Guns -- a national, bipartisan coalition of mayors working to make America’s communities safer by keeping illegal guns out of dangerous hands. Co-founded in 2006 by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, the coalition has grown from a committed group of 15 members to more than 850 mayors, including Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, from major cities and small towns around the country. The group has more than 1.2 million grassroots supporters, making it the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country.
Our efforts cannot bring back the 20 innocent children murdered in Newtown, CT -- or the 33 people murdered with guns every day in America. But we can prevent future tragedies by passing common sense legislation that will:
Require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America
Ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines
Make gun trafficking a federal crime, with real penalties for “straw purchasers”
Demand that your members of Congress support these legislative priorities.
If you so desire, you can also sign their petition that calls upon Congress to come up with a plan to end gun violence.
Geeze, talk about timing. This ad appeared yesterday, on the same day as the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin.
As we all know, it's "too soon" to talk about gun control, and it would be "wrong" to use a tragedy to make a "political point." Plus, if all those people in that temple had guns, this wouldn't have happened. Besides, someone could have used a brick to hit them in the heads if he didn't have a gun, so no gun control necessary, okay? And criminals still find a way to get guns illegally, even if mass killers got their weapons legally. So no more talking about gun control, okay? Even if the cops on the scene are calling the Wisconsin shootings "domestic terrorism":
A group of US mayors joined forces with survivors of the Tucson gun rampage on Sunday to step up their campaign for tighter gun controls in the wake of the recent mass killing in Aurora, Colorado.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the bipartisan coalition of more than 700 mayors including New York's Michael Bloomberg, released a television advertisement during Olympics coverage and the US's top politics shows calling for president Barack Obama and his rival governor Mitt Romney to tackle gun violence.
The ad features survivors of the Tucson shooting in January 2011 that claimed six lives and left another 13 injured, including US representative Gabby Giffords.
"Because 48,000 Americans will be murdered with guns during the next president's term. That's three Aurora shootings every day. We need less silence. And more courage," the survivors say.
Smart move! Mayors Against Illegal Guns hired Frank Luntz to poll a sample made up of 50 percent NRA members, and found a real split between their support for sensible gun laws - and that of the rabid NRA leadership. It will be oh-so-interesting to hear what the usual talk-radio suspects have to say about this:
Mayors Against Illegal Guns today released the findings of a survey by GOP pollster Frank Luntz showing that NRA members and gun owners overwhelmingly support a variety of laws designed to keep firearms out of dangerous hands, even as the Washington gun lobby prepares to spend unprecedented millions supporting candidates who pledge to oppose any changes to U.S. gun laws. The poll also dispels the myth among many Washington pundits that there is a lack of public support for common-sense measures that would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and keep Americans safe. Among the survey’s key findings:
87 percent of NRA members agree that support for 2nd Amendment rights goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
There is very strong support for criminal background checks:
74 percent support requiring criminal background checks of anyone purchasing a gun.
79 percent support requiring gun retailers to perform background checks on all employees – a measure recently endorsed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry.
NRA members strongly support allowing states to set basic eligibility requirements for people who want to carry concealed, loaded guns in public places. By contrast, the NRA leadership’s top federal legislative priority – national reciprocity for concealed carry permits – would effectively eliminate these requirements by forcing every state to allow non-residents to carry concealed guns even if they would not qualify for a local permit.
NRA members support many common state eligibility rules for concealed carrying:
75 percent believe concealed carry permits should only be granted to applicants who have not committed any violent misdemeanors, including assault.
74 percent believe permits should only be granted to applicants who have completed gun safety training.
68 percent believe permits should only be granted to applicants who do not have prior arrests for domestic violence.
63 percent believe permits should only be granted to applicants 21 years of age or older.
The NRA rank and file also supports barring people on terror watch lists from buying guns (71 percent) and believe the law should require gun owners to alert police to lost and stolen guns (65 percent).
NY Mayor Mike Bloomberg appeared on Meet The Press yesterday to push for gun control, pointing out, "You’d think that if a congresswoman got shot in the head, that would have changed Congress’ views."
If anything, the picture in Congress is even bleaker than Bloomberg suggests. In 2006, the NRA successfully lobbied Congress to make the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) a Senate-confirmed position. Since then, the Senate has been unable to confirm anyone to serve as the chief enforcer of firearms laws due to the combination of gun lobbying and the nearly-unbreakable filibuster. President Obama’s nominee was blocked because he opposes allowing civilians to purchase a weapon capable of punching a baseball-sized hole in 2.5 inches of bulletproof glass.
Not content simply to erect barriers to enforcing federal firearms laws, much of Congress also wants to strip states of their power to enforce reasonable gun regulations. The House recently passed the “National Right To Carry Reciprocity Act,” which forces nearly every state to honor concealed carry licenses issued by the states with the laxest licensing rules. Half of North Carolina concealed carry permit holders with felony convictions have been allowed to keep their permits, and Florida issued 1,700 concealed carry permits to people with “criminal histories, arrest warrants, domestic violence injunctions and misdemeanor convictions for gun-related crimes.” Under this NRA-sponsored bill, all of these permit holders [would] be allowed to carry concealed firearms in 49 of the 50 states.
Nor are federal lawmakers the only ones looking for new and more creative ways to arm the nation. Several states are pushing efforts to force colleges to allow concealed firearms on campus — because clearly what America needs are rooms full of fraternity members packing heat right after they each consumed a case of Milwaukee’s Best. Not to be outdone, Colorado lawmakers are pushing a bill to allow firearms in elementary schools.
As conservative Justice Antonin Scalia explained in D.C. v. Heller, respecting the Second Amendment does not mean filling every building with firearms, or eliminating concealed carry rules, or placing guns in the hands of convicted felons or the mentally ill. Sadly, far too many lawmakers have let the NRA convince them that the myth of the Second Amendment far exceeds the reality.
This "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" ad ran during last night's Super Bowl:
Victims of the January 8 mass shooting stood with civic leaders on Monday to call for critical reforms to our nation’s guns laws. Watch highlights from the event in Tucson. Show your support by sharing the video with your friends and family!
As you may recall, I wrote before about how just about anyone can buy a gun in Arizona. Mayors Against Illegal Guns is calling on members of Congress to take two important steps to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
Get the names of all the people who should be prohibited from buying guns into the background check system.
Require a background check for every gun sale in America.
This past Sunday, President Obama wrote an op-ed for Gabrielle Giffords' hometown paper, the Arizona Daily Star. Looking back on the tragic shootings in Tucson, he made it clear that we need to fix our nation's broken background check system and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people:
That's why our focus right now should be on sound and effective steps that will actually keep those irresponsible, law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place.
• First, we should begin by enforcing laws that are already on the books. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System is the filter that's supposed to stop the wrong people from getting their hands on a gun. Bipartisan legislation four years ago was supposed to strengthen this system, but it hasn't been properly implemented. It relies on data supplied by states - but that data is often incomplete and inadequate. We must do better.
• Second, we should in fact reward the states that provide the best data - and therefore do the most to protect our citizens.
• Third, we should make the system faster and nimbler. We should provide an instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system for background checks to sellers who want to do the right thing, and make sure that criminals can't escape it.
Porous background checks are bad for police officers, for law-abiding citizens and for the sellers themselves. If we're serious about keeping guns away from someone who's made up his mind to kill, then we can't allow a situation where a responsible seller denies him a weapon at one store, but he effortlessly buys the same gun someplace else.
This has been a long time coming, and I'd like to see the language bit stronger, but I can't say I am not pleased to see the President stepping up and addressing this important issue.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group of more than 550 U.S. mayors, is calling for a background check system that will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. (I know here in Philadelphia, mayors have been continuously stymied by the NRA-owned state legislature every time they try to put even small roadblocks in the way of gun purchase on demand.)
On January 23, 2011, undercover investigators working for the City of New York attended the Crossroads of the World gun show in Phoenix. One investigator purchased a Glock 9 mm semiautomatic pistol without a background check. Because the gun dealer is a private seller and not a federally licensed firearms dealer, no background check was required and the transaction was apparently legal, assuming the seller was, in fact, an “occasional seller.” This gap in federal law that enables private sellers to sell guns without background checks is sometimes called the Gun Show Loophole because such sellers congregate at gun shows. The investigator also purchased 33-round extended magazines for the Glock from a separate seller – also legal because the 1994 law that banned such sales expired in 2004.
Gun shows have been found to be major sources of guns used in crimes. According to the ATF, 30 percent of guns involved in federal illegal gun trafficking investigations are connected to gun shows. Because no records are kept, guns sold by private sellers at gun shows become virtually untraceable.
Two private sellers failed integrity tests by illegally selling guns to an undercover investigator. Each seller sold a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol, one Sig Sauer and one Smith & Wesson, to an undercover investigator even after he declared that he “probably couldn’t pass” a background check. That statement should have immediately stopped the sale because even though occasional sellers are not required to run background checks using the FBI database, it is a federal felony for them to sell guns to people they have reason to believe are prohibited purchasers.
In 2009, the City of New York conducted a similar investigation and documented problems at seven gun shows in three states. Investigators found private dealers who sold to those who said they could not pass a background check, including two sellers who failed at multiple shows. In total, 19 of the 30 private sellers approached in 2009 failed the test.
Since the 2009 investigation, four of the seven gun shows documented on video have changed their practices.
The operator of the Big Reno Show, and the owner of the venue, the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, have each signed agreements with the City of New York agreeing to end no-background check gun sales. The Big Reno Show is one of the nation’s largest gun shows. It has 1,300 tables of exhibits, at the time of the investigation there were 120 private sellers at the show offering 1,700 guns for sale.
The operator of the Big Reno Show has also prevented any seller caught breaking the law in the undercover investigation from returning to the show. The agreement stipulates that all sales by private party sellers will be processed through licensed gun dealers who will perform background checks.
Bill Goodman’s Gun and Knife Shows promotes three of the seven shows visited by the City in 2009, they were held at the Hara Arena and Sharonville Convention Center in Ohio and at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville. The promoter has ended no-background check sales at all 34 shows that he promotes.
In 2009, the City turned over all of its investigative materials on illegal sales to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF). One of the sellers caught on tape at the Big Reno gun show, Robert Daly, was the subject of an ATF search warrant in July 2010. When the warrant was executed at Daly’s home in Mesa, Arizona, ATF agents seized 799 guns. The Justice Department has charged him with illegally selling these guns at gun shows.
Yep. Even if you're selling hundreds of guns at gun shows, you're still considered to be a "private seller" and not a dealer. Isn't that nice? In light of recent events, even politicians have to see that it's time to keep guns out of the hands of high-risk buyers.
You'd think that Arizona, whose far-right activists are always screaming about horrific crimes allegedly committed by Mexicans sneaking across the border, would catch on to the concept that loose gun sale practices put all of us at risk. From last week:
In a case aimed at stemming the flow of U.S. weapons to the Mexican drug war, federal authorities indicted 20 men Tuesday on charges of buying an estimated 700 weapons in Arizona and conspiring to transfer them across the border, chiefly to the Sinaloa drug cartel.
The arrests, carried out by at least 100 federal agents, began early Tuesday, the latest crackdown targeting an international trafficking network that authorities say has seen as many as 60,000 weapons seized in Mexico and traced to U.S. sources.
Even if you don't care about your loved ones getting blown away, Arizona, maybe you could cut the rest of us a break.
That is the number of times suspected terrorists, those on actual watch lists, successfully bought guns or explosives in the good ole US of A over the past five years. Why? Because of the Terror Gap. That is the space in our law created by right wingers with celery-stalks-for-brain-stems, bed-wetting Blue Dogs, and neglectful progressives that allows those on watch lists to pass background checks when purchasing weaponry that kills. You can't get on a plane--but you can buy a freakin' explosive.
Even Rahm agrees! (or at least he did):
Remember, conservatives are in a corner shivering over the prospect of KSM being tried in New York, but if a member of Al Qaeda buys a cache of guns the FBI won't know about it and the any background information given when purchasing said weapons is destroyed faster than you can say Nidal Malik Hasan or Eric Rudolph. Now that seems just downright crafty!
So last week the Thune Amendment was thankfully defeated. A group I work with, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, took on the task of defeating this insane legislation, which only had a chance of passing due to the extremism of the NRA/Birther crowd and the ever-present cowardice of the usual Blue Dog Democrats.
I guess they weren't busy enough trying to destroy health care reform or climate-change legislation, so overriding state laws trying to prevent criminals from enjoying the right to concealed carry seemed like a good idea.
Thankfully, the NRA lost a gun battle for the first time in five years, but no thanks to squeamish Blue-Dog Democrats. Take Colorado Democratic Senators Udall and Bennet, for example. They waited to the end to vote, as if calculating which way to go right up until the last possible moment, and then voted with the gun nuts. Interestingly, two Republicans from generally pro-gun states, Senators George Voinovich of Ohio and Dick Lugar of Indiana, didn't feel a need to cave to the Bonkers Wing of the GOP. Nor did some other Democrats from pro-gun states, like Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bill Nelson of Florida and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
In response, a Columbine dad, who suffered what is the nightmare scenario for all of us with children in school, decided to remind these two men about what is and is not leadership in today's Denver Post. It says everything that needs to be said on this issue, as well as a host of others the Blue Dogs continue to practice duck & cover.
Sadly, the biggest threat to rational legislating right now is not from Republicans, who are and should be irrelevant, but from Blue Dogs. These people need to be taught not to fear their big contributors, but We The People.
(**As I stated in the piece, I am working with Mayors Against Illegal Guns.)