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Rockville Mayor Joins the Call Urging Obama to Act to Stop Illegal Guns

Letter calls for a review of the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

 

Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio was among 12 mayors from Maryland and 750 mayors nationwide to sign a letter, sent Wednesday, urging President Barack Obama to push for tougher gun laws in the wake of Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, CT.

“Together, we urge you 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,” said the letter, signed by Mayors Against Illegal Guns co-chairmen Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and co-signed by a bipartisan coalition of mayors from across the country.

Click here to read the full letter.

The letter calls on Obama to push legislation to:

  • Require mandatory criminal background checks for anyone buying a gun.
  • Review the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and ban high-capacity rifles and ammunition magazines.
  • Make gun trafficking a federal crime.

While the above steps require congressional action, the coalition also is asking Obama to use his executive power to take immediate steps to curb gun violence. They are:

  • Appointing a director to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an agency that has not had a confirmed director in six years.
  • Prosecuting people, such as convicted felons, who attempt to buy firearms, ammunition or high-capacity magazines despite being prohibited by law from doing so.
  • Requiring federal agencies to report mental health, substance abuse and other records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The reporting requirement is part of the NICS Improvement Act of 2007, but few federal agencies comply, the coalition writes.
  • Repealing remaining “Tiahrt restrictions.” Named for the sponsor of the federal budget amendments, former U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), critics say the restrictions make it harder for law enforcement agencies to curb gun violence by restricting access to information about gun sales.

Besides Marcuccio, the other Maryland mayors to sign the letter are:

  • Annapolis Mayor Joshua J. Cohen.
  • Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
  • College Park Mayor Andrew M. Fellows.
  • Cumberland Mayor Brian K. Grim.
  • Easton Mayor Robert C. Willey.
  • Garrett Park Mayor Peter Benjamin.
  • Indian Head Mayor Dennis J. Scheessele.
  • Laurel Mayor Craig A. Moe.
  • Salisbury Mayor James Ireton, Jr.
  • Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin.
  • Takoma Park Mayor Bruce R. Williams.
C.Z. Guy December 21, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Tell me how they plan on protecting the constitutional rights of the 90 million honest, law abiding citizens who didn't randomly kill anybody yesterday and won't today or tomorrow. In Colorado, numerous faculty members at the shooter's university were seriously worried about his mental health yet did nothing about it. The mother of the CT shooter knew he was a serious risk yet failed to secure her weapons. These are not the failures of the law abiding community of gun owners, so why should they be punished? It's like the old grade teacher school mentality-you don't know who was shooting the spitballs so you punish the entire class. Menino and Bloomberg are unabashed gun grabbers and tragedy opportunists. We don't need more restrictions, we need more responsibility. Another example of 'we've got to do something' and it usually is the wrong thing. Finally, if these rifles are 'assault weapons', who are most of the police departments and federal law enforcement agencies in America planning on assaulting?
Eric S. December 21, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Uhhh, if they were already illegal guns. . . Oh never mind. I'm just pissing into the wind. A few days ago, there was advice to not let kids watch this sort of thing on TV. Me, I say NOBODY should be watching this crap. Yes, it happened. Report it and move the hell on, so these poor people can mourn already, and you don't set the stage for the next nutjob who wants to be famous. But then nobody would make any money off tragedy, and we might actually have to debate harder issues, not a polarizing one that distracts everyone from way more pressing issues. Disgusting.
Tom Moore December 21, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Question for you, C.Z.: Is there a number of kids who would have to be killed at an elementary school that would cause you to consider that perhaps we should not allow civilians to possess the sort of weapon used in Newtown? Beall Elementary, where two of my children go, has 637 kids. If someone walked in and killed 50 or 100 of them, would it make any difference to your position? 200? 300? Every single one of them? One child dead is one too many. Twenty is unspeakably horrifying. Sadly, 20 also seems to be the number that has finally caused America to pay attention to this issue. We don't rely on people to be responsible with machine guns, or hand grenades, or tanks, or Stinger missiles. We ban civilians from possessing them, period. It is well past time to do the same with assault weapons.
Piotr Gajewski December 21, 2012 at 04:42 PM
C.Z. – the rights you write about are “constitutional rights,” as you correctly identify. They are not God given rights. The U.S. Constitution is a man-made document and, frankly, it was written outside the context of the existence of weapons like assault rifles and large ammunition clips (so it might even be argued that the “rights” you claim do not apply to these, but I digress). I think it is appropriate to have a discussion whether these “rights” that some read into the constitution are what is in the best interest of our nation. Note: there are other fine democracies in the world that do not guarantee these rights and they do not seem harmed by this - indeed, in many cases there appears to be a benefit to limiting access to very dangerous weapons.
Forlorn Hope January 28, 2013 at 04:37 PM
If the Constitution was written outside the context of "assault weapons", it was certainly written outside the context of electronic media and the Internet. If we want to rewrite the Second Amendment, perhaps we need to trim away some fo the other fat from the Bill of Rights. Perhaps we need to discuss some "common sense" restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Potential mass murderers are certainly motivated by seeing the names, biographies, and photos of every other crazy who has committed a crime of violence. Perhaps we need to talk about "reasonable" measures such as prohibiting publication of this information by the media. If we're going to trade the Bill of Rights for feel-good laws that are unlikely to stop the next mass murderer, we probably need to trade all of them.

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