Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Trouble Every Day

Gunman walks into a Detroit police station and opens fire. Wounds four officers, including a commander, before he's shot and killed by the cops.

Same day, a shootout in front of a Washington State Walmart leaves two people dead and two deputies wounded.

Welcome to America, where 34 people are murdered with firearms every day.

Most people, whether they think everyone should own a gun or no one should own a gun, want to reduce gun violence. That's why, after Ronald Reagan and James Brady were shot in an assassination attempt, a bipartisan coalition in Congress added a background check system to strengthen existing laws to keep guns out of the hands of felons, drug abusers, and the mentally ill.

The flaws in the background check system have been exposed again and again over the years, in the massacres at Columbine and Virginia Tech, and now again in Arizona, Michigan, and Washington state. Now is the moment to fix background checks and make America safer.

A coalition of 550 Mayors nationwide, led by New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have launched a campaign calling on Congress to close the loopholes in the background check system. Mayors Against Illegal Guns have two important changes to the system that will fix background checks and make America safer:

1 - Fix the Holes in the Background Database:

  • Existing laws already outlaw criminals, drug abusers, the mentally ill, and other dangerous people from passing a background check. The problem is state and federal agencies aren't required by law or funded by Congress to supply that information to the background check system and possibly as many as one million prohibited purchasers are missing from the background database.
  • A new law would create full funding and necessary incentives for states and federal agencies to comply with reporting requirements and make sure every legally prohibited purchaser is included in the background check database.

2 - Sell No Gun Without A Check:

  • Under the current system, even if a Prohibited Purchaser like the Virginia Tech or Tucson shooters would fail a background check, they could still have walked into any gun show and bought a car load of guns with no background check, no questions asked.
  • A new law would close all of the loopholes and require background checks for every gun sale, with reasonable exceptions for law enforcement and certain gun permit holders.

Security isn't just about having guns, it's about keeping communities safe for everyone. When we stand together for our values of strong communities, personal security, and liberty for all, we all win.

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