So, the US Conference of Mayors – an “official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more” (sorry Rossmoor) – is sending an open letter, which I’m reprinting below, to the President and Congress, demanding three common-sense responses to America’s plague of gun violence – passing Feinstein’s “assault weapons” ban, strengthening the national background check system, and strengthening the penalties for “straw purchases” of guns.
I became aware of this letter yesterday when MY mayor, Huntington Beach’s Connie Boardman, posted on Facebook that she had signed it. I wondered what other Orange County mayors had also signed. I realize most of them are Republicans, and may be automatically against any sort of gun control, although at this point in our history it really shouldn’t be a partisan issue any more. So I thought I’d just check with the mayors of our two biggest cities, which have the most violence, Santa Ana and Anaheim.
And when I called SA Mayor Pulido, and described the letter to him, he asked me to send him the link right away so he could sign it (especially when he heard all the mayor friends of his who were already on board.) So we’ve got two down there. Not a surprise, with Democrat Pulido, even though I disagree with him on many other things.
But when I called my good friend Anaheim’s Mayor Tom Tait (Republican) he was more skeptical. He had heard of the letter, but isn’t so sure that more gun control “will help much with the problem.” Still, he asked me to send him a copy, and I’ll follow up with him. Perhaps he doesn’t want to piss off the OC GOP too much, where he is already known as quite a maverick. But then, he does have a reputation for doing what he thinks is the right thing, damn the political consequences. And far from all the shooting deaths in Anaheim are at the hands of the police there! (dark snark) Maybe he should ask his police chief John Welter about the 40 illegal guns that were seized in Operation Halo. Well, commenters, what do you think, should Mayor Tait sign this letter? I know that he reads this blog!
Well, here’s the letter, and any other OC mayors, of towns larger than 30,000, you can click here to sign: http://usmayors.org/presidentcongressletter
December 17, 2012
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE CONGRESS FROM THE NATION’S MAYORS
Dear Mr. President and Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate:
Again and again and again, Americans are stunned by senseless acts of violence involving guns. Friday’s tragedy targeting young children in Newtown is incomprehensible. Too many times this year, mayors have expressed shock at a mass shooting. Even more frequently, many of us must cope with the gun violence that occurs on the streets of our cities.
Through The U.S. Conference of Mayors we have sent our condolences to the victims, their families, and their community. We know that Newtown First Selectman Patricia Llodra and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy continue to do everything possible to help the families of those killed and the entire community cope with so much loss and pain.
The Conference has been calling for sensible gun laws to protect the public for more than 40 years. Mayors and police chiefs from cities of all sizes have worked together in this effort over the years.
We urge you to take immediate action: the President to exercise his powers though Executive Order and Congress to introduce and pass legislation to make reasonable changes in our gun laws and regulations. Specifically we call on you to:
- Enact legislation to ban assault weapons and other high-capacity magazines being prepared by Senator Dianne Feinstein and others;
- Strengthen the national background check system and eliminate loopholes in it; and
- Strengthen the penalties for straw purchases of guns.
We know that preventing gun violence – whether it is a mass shooting in a school or a murder on a street corner – will take much more than strengthening our gun laws. We need to reverse the culture of violence in our nation so that a violent act isn’t the first response to settling a difference or compensating for a wrong. We support the idea of a establishing a bi-partisan Commission that looks at the broader issues of violence in our country. We need to strengthen and more adequately fund our mental health system so that we can identify troubled individuals earlier and get them the help they need. But strengthening our gun laws should not have to wait for these other actions to occur. The time for action is now!
We believe that with this latest national tragedy and the high incidence of gun violence that continues to plague our streets, we have reached a tipping point. The nation’s mayors pledge to work with you to build a safer America for our children and all of our citizens.
Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, President
Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, Past President
Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles
Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago
Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, Second Vice President
Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Mayor of Charleston, Past President
Thomas M. Menino, Mayor of Boston, Past President
Donald L. Plusquellic, Mayor of Akron, Past President
Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director.