MAYORS UNITE TO FIGHT GUN VIOLENCE -- (Senate - February 08, 2007) [Page: S1776]
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, on January 23, over 50 members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns met in Washington, DC, for the coalition's 2007 National Summit. Mayors from 27 States and the District of Columbia shared practices and strategies, discussed the importance of forging alliances with gun owners, and united in opposition to laws that restrict cities' access to, and use of, gun trace data. They also heard the results of a bipartisan national poll which shows strong support for tougher enforcement of existing gun laws and common sense provisions to prevent and solve crimes.
The original group of 15 mayors first met in April 2006 in New York City, where they pledged to seek the involvement of up to 50 mayors from around the country. By early June 2006, 52 mayors had joined the coalition. Within a few days following the conclusion of the 2007 summit, 31 additional mayors from across the Nation joined the coalition. The coalition currently includes 154 mayors from 44 States and the District of Columbia.
As cochair of the coalition, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg described this growth by saying:
Our coalition is growing because--as the national summit showed--mayors of both parties are committed to doing more to keep illegal guns off the street, which threaten the safety of our citizens, especially our police officers. The 31 new mayors joining the ranks of our coalition demonstrate that momentum is building for our effort to crack down on illegal guns and convince state legislatures and Congress to take ideology out of law enforcement.
The coalition's basic principle is that keeping illegal guns off the street is not an issue of ideology but of law enforcement. It, therefore, is united in taking a commonsense approach to fighting illegal guns at the local, State and Federal levels. The vast majority of guns used in crimes are purchased and possessed illegally. Most gun dealers, however, are honest business people that carefully follow the law. According to gun crime trace data, 85 percent of dealers do not sell any guns used in crimes. It is only a small number of irresponsible dealers that cause the vast majority of problems. In fact, it is only about 1 percent of gun sellers who account for 60 percent of all guns used in crimes.
According to a national survey conducted by Greenberg Quinian Rosner Research and the Terrance Group on behalf of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 84 percent of Americans say they are concerned about gun violence. This concern crosses partisan lines, and spans big cities and small rural areas alike. Eighty-two percent of Americans favor either tougher enforcement of existing laws or tough new laws. This strong public support for common-sense measures serves to reinforce what we should already know. I would like to urge this Congress to follow the example of these mayors and work in a bipartisan manner to promote and pass sensible gun safety legislation.