Mayors Against Illegal Guns to score congressional gun votes

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Press release from Mayors Against Illegal Guns. "Mayors Against Illegal Guns to Score Congressional Gun Votes" April 9, 2013:


MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS TO SCORE CONGRESSIONAL GUN VOTES

Coalition
Also Releases New Ad Featuring Newtown Father Neil Heslin Calling on
Congress to Support Commonsense Reforms Like Comprehensive Background
Checks;
 www.DemandAction.org

Mayors
Against Illegal Guns announced today that, for the first time, it will
score votes and other official activity on firearms policy in the 113th
Congress. In a letter that will be sent to all members of Congress
today, the coalition states that it will issue a scorecard assigning
members a letter grade on their gun policy records. The letter can be
found at: www.demandaction.org/score.

The
coalition also released a new ad today featuring Neil Heslin, whose son
Jesse Lewis was killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
In the ad Heslin recalls his final moments with his son and calls on
Congress to take action to support sensible reforms like comprehensive
background checks. The ad will air in Washington, D.C. and in key states
– represented by both Democrats and Republicans – where it can most
influence the upcoming Senate vote. It can be viewed at: www.demandaction.org/neil. (below the fold).

“For
too long, the only voice that has been loud enough to influence
Congress has been the Washington gun lobby’s – that’s how we’ve ended up
with ineffective gun laws that have fueled our country’s gun violence
epidemic,” said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “Now we’re working to make sure that the
voices of the more than 900 bipartisan mayors in our coalition – and the
90 percent of Americans who support commonsense reforms like background
checks for all gun sales – are heard loud and clear. It’s time for
Congress to take action to save lives and protect our communities.”


“Our
coalition will not let the memory of Newtown fade – we demanded a plan
and we got one; now we demand action from Congress,” said Mayors Against
Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “We'll be
paying close attention to the upcoming votes because the sensible
reforms on the table are the very solutions that will help save lives."

The
Mayors Against Illegal Guns scorecard will draw on committee and floor
votes, bill co-sponsorships, public statements and other sources to give
voters a clear picture of their elected officials’ positions. The
organization noted that it will score both procedural and substantive
votes on, but not limited to, the following issues:

  • The National Instant Criminal Background Check System;
  • State authority to establish permitting standards for concealed carrying;
  • Assault weapons;
  • High-capacity ammunition magazines;
  • A federal gun trafficking law; and
  • The
    Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, its programs,
    its legal authority, its resources, and the confirmation of its
    director. 

The scorecard will weight votes according to their priority to the mayors in the coalition.

The
scoring announcement and latest ad comes just as members of Congress
return to Washington from recess and just before the Senate considers
legislation that would require background checks for all commercial gun
sales – including at gun shows, online, and through classified ads. 

Around
40 percent of U.S. gun transfers are conducted by unlicensed “private
sellers” who are not required to conduct a federal check (1) and
who often do business at gun shows and on the Internet – indicating
that about 6.6 million guns are transferred in the U.S. every year with
no background check for the buyer.(2) This
loophole allows dangerous people who are prohibited from buying guns –
including felons, domestic abusers and the seriously mentally ill – to
avoid a background check by simply avoiding licensed dealers.

Evidence
demonstrates that background checks save lives. For example, in the
fourteen states that already require background checks for all handgun
sales:

  • Gun trafficking is 48 percent lower than in states that fail to require background checks for all handgun sales.(3)
  • In
    2010, the rate of women murdered by an intimate partner with a gun was
    38 percent lower than in other states, while the rate murdered by other
    means was nearly identical.(4)
  • The firearm suicide rate was 49 percent lower than in other states, even though people committed suicide in other ways at almost precisely the same rate.(5
  • In
    2011, of states with sufficient data, those that required background
    checks for all handgun sales had 17 percent fewer firearm aggravated
    assaults, controlling for population.(6)

Recent
polls by Mayors Against Illegal Guns showed likely voters in a wide
range of states and congressional districts overwhelmingly support
background checks for all gun sales. The average support for background
checks for all gun sales among 41 congressional district polls was 89
percent; the average among 21 statewide polls was 86 percent. The
findings of these surveys can be found here. These findings are in line with recent independent polls that have found more than 90 percent of Americans support background checks for all buyers.  Previous polling by Republican Frank Luntz
for Mayors Against Illegal Guns also found that 82 percent of gun
owners – including 74 percent of National Rifle Association members –
support requiring criminal background checks for anyone purchasing a
gun.

About Mayors Against Illegal Guns 

Since
its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from
15 members to more than 900 mayors from across the country. We have more
than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making us the largest gun
violence prevention advocacy organization in the country. The bipartisan
coalition, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united the nation’s mayors around these
common goals: protecting communities by holding gun offenders
accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical
to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with
legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far
too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns. Learn
more at www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org 

(1)
Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig, Guns in America, 1996, available at
http://www.policefoundation.org/pdf/GunsinAmerica.pdf. 2,568
individuals, including 251 gun owners, were surveyed by telephone and
asked how they obtained their firearms.

(2) In
the 38 states that have not fully closed the private sale loophole, an
estimated 9,856,984 background checks were conducted between November
2011 and November 2012, out of an estimated 16.5 million total firearm
transfers in those states. 40 percent of this total—6.6 million
transfers—occurred without background checks. Calculation based on FBI
data. Available:online 

(3)
Daniel Webster, Jon Vernick, & Maria Bulzacchelli, “Effects of
State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm
Trafficking,” Journal of Urban Health, July 2009.

(4) U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2011.

(5)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury
Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting
System (WISQARS) [online]. (2005) [cited 2012 Dec. 20].

(6)
Uniform Crime Reports, FBI, 2011. An aggravated assault is an unlawful
attack with the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury
and using a weapon or means of inflicting severe harm, including
assaults or attempts to kill or murder, assault with a deadly weapon,
and mayhem. Law enforcement agencies in 46 states and DC submitted
sufficient data for analysis — NY, IL, HI, and MS did not.

Note: The Washington Post today also has an Interactive: Where Congress stands on guns. Well worth viewing.

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