Past Irvine Mayors Beth Krom and Sukhee Kang were members of the group “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” with the key word in the group’s name being “Illegal.” So far, despite being urged by members of the public to join and support this group, current Irvine Mayor Steven Choi has not and that makes santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido the only mayor in Orange County that is a part of this national organization.
Choi, along with Council members Jeff Lalloway and Christina Shea — both of who seldom forget to reference their young children and grandchildren — last month rejected an amendment by Councilmember Larry Agran to make Gun Saftey a key piece of Irvine’s 2013 State and Federal Legislative platform. Lalloway cited the failure on the part of the progressives to act when they had the majority, but this was well before the Christopher Dorner execution-styled slayings in Irvine pushed gun safety to the front burner. For tonight’s, excuse me, this afternoon’s council meeting, Agran is offering Item 5.3 on the Agenda. It’s a 7-point local program to designed to enhance gun safety in Irvine. It also formally calls on Mayor Choi to join the national coalition, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is working for: 1) universal background checks; 2) a ban on high-capacity magazines; and 3) a ban on the manufacture, importation and sale of certain assault weapons.
Choi has refused to sign on as a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, showing he’s placed Republican policy positions ahead of public safety in a city that’s been recognized eight years in a row as America’s Safest City and has placed politics over public safety.
So today’s city council effort by Agran ties in nicely with this announcement from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan coalition of more than 900 mayors and more than 1.4 million grassroots supporters. The group responded today to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage of S.374, the Protecting Responsible Gun Owners Act in a vote of 10-8. The bill, sponsored by New York Senator Charles E. Schumer and based on a proposal by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, would require that all gun sales be subject to a background check and would close the “private sale loophole.”
Around 40 percent of U.S. gun transfers are conducted by unlicensed “private sellers” who are not required to conduct a federal check, 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 statewidepolls 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.
“Today the U.S. Senate took an important first step to require criminal background checks for all gun sales,” said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. ”I applaud the members of the Senate Judiciary committee who voted to send this bill to the Senate floor. Now we’ll work with their colleagues in the Senate to ensure passage of this common sense legislation that will help save lives and protect our communities. Americans are demanding action from Washington to prevent gun violence – and meaningful reform is within our reach.”
“The Senate Judiciary Committee made important progress today, but it’s up to their peers in Congress to be bold and follow suit,” Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “The message from Americans is loud and clear: enough is enough. Thirty-three Americans are murdered with guns every day – we can no longer afford inaction on commonsense gun laws like requiring background checks for every firearms sale.”
Statements from Members of the Coalition:
Mayor Bill Rappaport of Star Valley, Arizona
“The Senate Judiciary Committee has sided with America’s law enforcement officers, who overwhelmingly support the public safety legislation approved today. An expanded background check system will empower police to more effectively track down criminals and give the families of gun violence victims the closure they deserve.”
Mayor Jonathan Rothschild of Tucson, Arizona
“An overwhelming majority of Americans – and Arizonans – believe that mandatory background checks for all gun sales is agood policy that will keep our communities safe. This vote proves that their collective voice can overpower the gun lobby’s dollars, but Americans must continue to demand action from Congress to end gun violence.”
Mayor Michael Pavia of Stamford, Connecticut
“As a Republican mayor in Connecticut, I want to voice my strong support for the actions taken today by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Extending background checks and record-keeping to all U.S. gun sales is thefoundation of legislation that will save lives and stop criminals. This legislation demands full consideration by the House and Senate.”
Mayor Pedro Segarra of Hartford, Connecticut
“Eight in 10 gun owners recognize that requiring a background check for every gun sale is a practical policy that will save lives without limiting anyone’s right to bear arms. This vote is a smart first step and Americans must continue to demand action from Congress to ensure full consideration of comprehensive background checks and other key measures to stop gun violence here in Connecticut and around the country.”
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana
“Today’s vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee signals that Congress has finally caught up to the American people, a majority of whom support background checks for all gun sales. We demanded a plan to reduce gun violence after Virginia Tech, after Binghamton, after Aurora, after Newtown, and after the countless other gun tragedies that take place every day in America. Now we’re demanding action – and our voices are resonating in the halls of Congress.”
Mayor Michael Ryan of Sunrise, Florida
“I applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee for taking meaningful steps towards the reduction of gun violence and the illegal proliferation of guns. The evidence is irrefutable — when utilized, background checks keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the severely mentally ill.”
Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis, Minnesota
“Mayors who see the terrible effects of gun violence every day know all too well that we need action from our state capitals and our nation’s capital to end it — and fortunately, we have seen some today. I thank Senators Leahy, Klobuchar, Franken and their colleagues who voted to take this important first step. Congress needs to keep up the momentum and put a commonsense bill on President Obama’s desk that will help mayors, police and community end gun violence and keep people safe.”
Mayor Susan Cohen of Manalapan, New Jersey
“I want to congratulate and express my gratitude to the Senate Judiciary Committee for approving S.374 today. Only by expanding ourexisting background check system to all sales can we ensure that guns do not fall into dangerous hands. As a Republican, I have no doubt that this is a bipartisan issue and indeed a fundamentally American issue: We need a strong Second Amendment that allows law-abiding gun owners to bear arms in self-defense but does not allow criminals to arm themselves with impunity. I urge the full Senate to act on this bill quickly, and I urge all Senators, regardless of party, to help pass it into law.”
Mayor Michael Coleman of Columbus, Ohio
“The Senate Judiciary Committee has taken an incredibly important step forward in the fight to stop gun violence. They have listened to our 900 mayors. They have listened to our police chiefs. And they have listened to the gun violence survivors and the family members of victims who are committed to preventing the next terrible gun tragedy. I eagerly await action on the floor of the Senate – and in the House of Representatives – and urge members of the Ohio congressional delegation to support background checks on all U.S. gun sales.”
Mayor Rick Gray of Lancaster, Pennsylvania
“I am incredibly gratified that S.374 was passed out of committee today. Congress is working properly and working well when it listens to the public: 92 percent of the American public favors requiring background checks for all sales in the wake of Newtown, and the Senate Judiciary Committee has responded. Background checks are the only systematic way to keep guns out of dangerous hands, and I ask lawmakers to help build bipartisan support for this sensible and important bill.”
Mayor Joseph Riley of Charleston, South Carolina
“Thousands of South Carolinians have joined the rest of America in demanding action from Congress to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Today is but the first step in protecting our communitiesfrom the needless violence that claims 33 lives every day. We can save so many families the pain of losing a loved one with this common sense legislation.”
Mayor Annise Parker of Houston, Texas
“Respect for the Second Amendment goes hand-in-hand with common-sense laws to keep weapons away from dangerous people. Senate Bill 374 is a proposal that addresses our gun violence problem while also protecting our constitutional rights. The bill closes the private sale loophole in the simplest fashion – enforcing existing prohibitions on gun ownership while putting minimal strain on the public. It is truly great news that the bill has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Please help to make the passage of this bill a bipartisan achievement.”
Mayor Richard Ward of Hurst, Texas
“This isn’t a partisan issue – it’s just plain common sense. We can pay tribute to our Second Amendment rights and take responsible measures to keep guns away from felons, domestic abusers, and the severely mentally ill. I thank the Judiciary Committee for this critical first step in protecting our communities by enacting responsible, sensible legislation.”
Mayor Miro Weinberger of Burlington, Vermont
“I applaud Chairman Leahy for his tremendous leadership on this issue. In Vermont, where we have a long tradition of hunting and sporting, we know it’s possible to uphold our Second Amendment rights while also taking steps to keep guns from falling into the wrong hands. Today’s Judiciary Committee action was an important step towards closing the deadly loopholes in our nation’s gun background check system.”
Mayor John Hollar of Montpelier, Vermont
“Today is an historic moment for all of the American families affected by gun violence. Congress is closer than ever before to honoring the lives we have lost by passing the commonsense solutions to gun violence that so many Americans support.”
Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
“Under our broken background check system, a would-be killer can walk into any gun show, scan the classifieds, or just go to Armslist.com – and purchase any gun he wants with no questions asked and no paperwork required. And if that armed criminal does kill someone, and the cops recover the gun at the scene, they can’t trace it to him. Today, the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee took steps to close this loophole by approving S.374. I hope all federal legislators will join the fight to pass this common-sense bill.”
About Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Since its inception in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 mayors to more than 900 mayors from across the country. We have more than 1.4 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 ThomasMenino, has united the nation’s mayors around these common goals: protecting their communities by holding gun offenders and irresponsible gun dealers accountable; demanding access to trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat illegal gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix gaps, weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other prohibited purchasers to get guns. Learn more at www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org
In additon, Rep. Mike Thompson, Chair of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, has announced that the task force will hold a hearing at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, March 15th titled “The Need for Background Checks: Preventing Criminals and the Dangerously Mentally Ill from Getting Guns.” The hearing will focus on the need for legislation requiring background checks to ensure that persons prohibited from owning firearms are not able to purchase them. A background check requirement that respects reasonable exceptions for cases such as transfers between family members and temporary loans for sporting purposes was one of the 15 principles outlined by the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.