In the wake of the massacre that took the lives of 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, hundreds of mayors from around the U.S. have sent an open letter to President Barack Obama, urging him and federal lawmakers to "put forward an agenda that is rooted in common sense and that will make it harder for dangerous people to possess guns, and easier for police and prosecutors to crack down on them."
The letter, from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has been signed by 750 mayors, who have "joined forces with over 700,000 Americans and more than 100 survivors of deadly shootings." The letter urges the following steps:
- Require every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check.
- Get high capacity rifles and ammunition magazines off our streets.
- Make gun trafficking a federal crime.
"Those ideas require action by Congress, but there steps you and your Administration could and should take immediately to curb gun violence," according to the letter.
- Appoint a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the federal agency responsible for enforcing our gun laws, which has gone without a confirmed director for more than six years.
- Prosecute prohibited purchasers who attempt to buy firearms, ammunition or high-capacity magazines.
- Require federal agencies to report records to National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), as federal agencies are required to submit mental health, substance abuse and other records that prohibit a person from owning a gun to NICS, though few comply.
- Repeal remaining so-called "Tiahrt restrictions," which are riders to the federal budget that restrict access to federal gun data. The "remaining restrictions keep the public, particularly researchers and elected officials, in the dark about gun traffickers – specifically, who they are and how they operate."
"In the past few days, the American people came together in a national outpouring of grief and sympathy for the families of victims slain in the mass shooting in Newtown," the coalition wrote. "We share in that grief. But our constituents are also outraged and looking for leadership from the White House. We look forward to working with you to find a solution to gun violence in our country."
How do you feel about guns in XXXX? Do you think enough has been done or is there more to do?