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Mayor Pedro Segarra Demands Action from Congress to Reduce Gun Violence

Hartford Mayor Among 30 Mayors Featured in New PSA; www.DemandAction.org

Mayors Against Illegal Guns today released a new PSA featuring 30 mayors including Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra demanding that Congress take immediate action to prevent gun violence. The ad can be viewed here: www.DemandAction.org/Mayors.

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.”

“There is absolutely no reason for Congress to delay action. Not after what happened in Newtown, in Aurora, in Virginia Tech," said Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra. "Not after what happens every day on the streets of our big cities and small towns. Not after what happened to my own family and so many other families. Instant background checks are just plain common sense, and the majority of Americans agree they should be the law of the land.”

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.

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Contact:

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