Letter urging federal action on legislation to end gun violence
BOSTON - Thursday, August 8, 2019 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined with over 200 bipartisan mayors from across the United States in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, urging them to immediately call the Senate back to Washington to take action on bipartisan gun safety legislation. The letter is signed by 229 Republican and Democratic mayors, including Mayor Dee Margo of El Paso, Texas and Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio.
"Gun reform is action we need to take now, and is long overdue," said Mayor Walsh. "The federal government has the power to enact strong and sensible gun laws, preventing these tragedies from happening. I'm proud to stand with my fellow mayors from across the country to advocate for new laws that will save lives."
The letter urges the Senate to consider two bipartisan bills that passed in February of this year by 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. The bills have been awaiting Senate action for nearly six months.
Under the leadership of Mayor Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner Commissioner William Gross, the City of Boston and the Boston Police Department are working every day to build and strengthen relationships with the community, in partnership with many other agencies, non-profits, and community based programs. Just this month, Mayor Walsh and Commissioner Gross led Boston's National Night Out, community events that celebrate positive relationships between community members and the local police officers who serve them.
Mayor Walsh has made gun violence reduction and combating illegal gun trafficking a public safety priority, through developing and implementing a holistic approach that engages with partners at the federal, state, local and community levels. In 2019, the Boston Police Department has so far removed 459 guns off Boston streets.
The full text of the letter is below and can be found here.
August 8, 2019
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
United States Senate
Washington, DC 201510
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.