Mayor pressures Congress for tougher gun control


BY John Bayles

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has long been a proponent of tougher gun control laws. In the wake of the shooting spree in Tucson, Arizona on January 8, the mayor has amplified his position and is now directing his advocacy, and anger, at Washington.

On Monday Martin Luther King III, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and others, including a slew of family members who lost loved ones in the Columbine shooting of 1999, the Virgina Tech shooting of 2007, as well as the Tucson tragedy, joined Bloomberg at City Hall. Their purpose was to announce a national campaign to try and convince Congress to take two “common sense” steps toward solving a “broken” background check system.

Part one of the campaign urges Congress to ensure that all names of people prohibited from buying guns are in the background check system. The second part of the campaign seeks to close what some consider loopholes in gun control law, specifically the fact certain gun purchases, such as those occurring online or at gun shows, do not currently require background checks.

“The time has clearly come to finally fulfill the intent of the common sense gun law passed after the 1968 assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, by creating a loophole-free background check system for the sale of firearms,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

Both Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor Menino have been the leading voices behind the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The group has swelled from 15 mayors when it was formed in 2006 to 550 mayors today. It has launched a new website, www.fixgunchecks.org, where the public can sign a petition in favor of the campaign.

“If we want to create a nonviolent society, we must enforce our public safety laws to keep the angry and dangerous few from destroying the peace and harmony of the many,” said King III.

Also joining Bloomberg on Monday was Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the eldest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy. She pointed to the statistic that 34 people lose their lives everyday to a gun and said though each person may not be a senator or a president, each life is “a future cut short, a life of accomplishments left undone, and a family torn apart.” 

“We owe a duty to each victim to make their life, and their sacrifice, a part of the national movement to fix our gun background check system so it is thorough, complete and comprehensive,” said Kennedy Townsend.