Since its inception in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 mayors to more than 900 mayors from across the country. Now, mayors from California are featured in a new Public Service Announcement demanding Congressional action on gun violence.
The PSA marks a transition in the coalition’s campaign from demanding a plan to demanding that Congress take action to pass legislation to require background checks for all sales, limit military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and make gun trafficking a federal crime. The bipartisan coalition now includes more than 900 mayors from 45 states and more than 1.4 million grassroots supporters.
The coalition’s call for action follows new polls released this week showing that 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 statewide polls was 86 percent. The findings of these surveys can be found at www.demandaction.org/polls.
“Americans overwhelmingly support background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals,” said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “Now it’s time for Congress to stand with their constituents to pass a law requiring background checks for all gun sales – and to take other common sense steps that will save lives.”
“Mayors are on the front lines in the fight against gun violence – that’s why so many have joined our coalition since Newtown,” Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “The numbers don’t lie – support for background checks and other sensible reforms is clear. That’s why we’re demanding our leaders in Washington help us to protect our communities and keep our children safe. Now is the time for action.”
Under current federal law, only licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct background checks on potential buyers. 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 “private sale loophole” allows dangerous people who are already 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 gun 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.
You can watch the new video here.
 Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig, Guns in America, 1996, available at http://www.policefoundation.org/pdf/GunsinAmerica.pdf. 2,568 individuals, including 251 gun owners, were surveyed by telephone and asked how they obtained their firearms.
 In the 38 states that have not fully closed the private sale loophole, an estimated 9,856,984 background checks were conducted between November 2011 and November 2012, out of an estimated 16.5 million total firearm transfers in those states. 40 percent of this total—6.6 million transfers—occurred without background checks. Calculation based on FBI data. Available: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/reports/20130205_1998_2013_state_program_to_date_purpose_ids.pdf
 Daniel Webster, Jon Vernick, & Maria Bulzacchelli, “Effects of State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm Trafficking,” Journal of Urban Health, July 2009.
 U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2011.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2005) [cited 2012 Dec. 20].